SynDaver is taking some unusual steps to raise funds.
SynDaver is a Florida-based company that produces highly realistic anatomical models, but our recent interest in them is due to their Axi desktop 3D printer. The devices are based on open source designs and the company earlier this year launched the Axi 2, an improved version.
Like most medium-sized businesses, SynDaver hopes to grow significantly; that’s one reason why they chose to add the Axi line, as it provides another revenue stream that complements their original anatomical model business.
Growth can be done in two ways: organic and by investment. Organic is typically a far slower process, so most companies opt for the investment route. That investment for early stage companies usually involves landing private investors, sometimes VCs.
While SynDaver is seeking investment, they seem to be taking a very different approach. Their founder and CEO, Dr. Christopher Sakezles, said in a recent LinkedIn post:
“I am looking for someone to take over current and future capital raises for SynDaver. Bonus points if you have the capability to fill the CFO role as we get closer to going public. Note that we ONLY raise capital from individuals — not VCs or investment banks. No, I don’t do anything the ‘normal’ way.
We have grown substantially from our start in synthetic soft tissue and are now into 3D printing, medical devices, AR/VR and a few other things I can’t yet discuss publicly. India will also be a particular focus for us over the next couple of years.”
There’s several things to note in his statements.
First, it’s good news that he’s adding more resources to seek capital. In smaller companies I sometimes see CEOs swamped with investment activities, leaving less time for the running of the business. That doesn’t seem to be the case here. A CFO position is most appropriate.
The statement regarding the type of investment is interesting. By avoiding VCs or banks, SynDaver is constraining their options. However, many startup companies have been victimized by aggressive VCs who are more interested in pulling profit than building a long-term business.
Investment by individuals is also called “Angel” investments, and it’s typically done at the earliest stages of a venture. It definitely works, but unless you happen to know some very wealthy angels, the investment levels will be low.
This suggests that SynDaver might not be looking for large investments at this time, and perhaps indicates they feel they are still starting up.
Finally, Sakezles says “as we get closer to going public”. This is code for a future public share offering, a goal of many startups. If they can get to that level, then they will join several now-very large 3D printer manufacturing companies such as Desktop Metal, Markforged, Stratasys, 3D Systems, and others. Unless SynDaver can grow significantly, they’d certainly be one of the smaller players offering public investment.
On the other hand, if SynDaver is keen to continue accepting investment from individuals, then an eventual IPO might be a logical step.
In any case, raising funds at any level will certainly allow them to more quickly expand their new line of desktop 3D printers, with additional marketing and potentially more advanced models.
Oh, and if you happen to be an individual with fundraising capability in the 3D space and are looking for a position, you might give SynDaver a call.