Another big story about a big company named BigRep this week: They’ve just closed a massive investment deal that could change things significantly for the company.
Specifically, they’ve closed a Series A financing round (A “Series A” is the first lump investment obtained by a company after its initial “seed rounds”, typically when the company is well-established and ready to grow.) Several German investment groups have joined together to invest over €7M (USD$7.5M) into BigRep.
That’s a large amount of money. But what will BigRep do with all this cash? According to their CEO, René Gurka:
We will use this fresh capital to further our product development, expand our global market presence, and to internationalize and strengthen our distribution.
This makes sense. Their rather large 3D printer (1m scale) has been proven to work over the past few years, so they’ve worked out the technical issues. The challenge is getting the machine to buyers. This requires a sales and marketing force, composed of distributors, supply chain managers, marketers, support staff and much more. And these people must be located in different regions around the world. In other words, selling is expensive.
There are not very many players that produce 3D printers capable of making 1m-sized objects, and those that exist tend to be much more expensive. But they’re expensive for a reason: they can produce objects in various materials, like the Objet 1000. Meanwhile, the BigRep One.3 tends to be used with plain old PLA plastic, as it does not include a heated chamber suitable for other materials at large scales.
Does this limit BigRep’s market? We think it may, but we also believe there to is still a large remaining market for (relatively) inexpensive large-scale 3D printers. If you do not require the specific properties of non-PLA materials, then the BigRep offering may be just what you need.
Evidently BigRep’s investors think the same.
Expect to see a much more visible presence for BigRep in the market this coming year, but we suspect technical changes to their equipment will appear much later.