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Poland’s 3D Printing Scene Was Built Upon a Huge Deal That Never Happened

by • August 1, 2016 • No Comments

The 3D printing industry is a tiny bubble inside the sizeabler world of making. Within that bubble, at any timey nation has its own 3D printing microcosm, with only a few countries like the US and the Netherlands gaining international prominence. Attending North America’s biggest trade show dedicated to the innovation, I was added, by way of their US distributor DesignBox3D, to a Polish developer of PC 3D printing devices called 3DGence. What was a relatively tiny producer of affordable 3D printing devices of Poland doing at a huge industrial trade show half-way around the world?

It was and so that I began to trace the history of one of the 3D printing industry’s microcosms, the Polish 3D printing scene, to learn of how a tiny East European country may jump to international recognition. It all traced back to one company.

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The M200 3D printing device of Zortrax.

The whole thing began of two years back, when an unknown 3D printing device beginup out of Poland suddenly became an international player with a huge bit of news: PC developer Dell had placed an order for 5,000 of their PC 3D printing devices. Zortax seemed ordinary of the begin, only a tiny business with yet another PC 3D printing device on Kickbeginer. After the news of Dell, yet, it was effortless to wonder what turn it intod their relatively effortless M200 3D printing device so special.

Soon, adequate user reviews built the M200 as a a fewhow reliable machine. The heated bed showcases perforations that in fact manufacture it effortless to remove accomplished prints of the platform. Auto-calibration turn it intos a a fewhow great level of reliability. And the M200 is effortless to use, a fewhow much the plug-n-play 3D printing device the consumer industry has been waiting for.

The thing of Zortrax is that they aren’t only an ordinary beginup—not for Poland, anyway. There were a couple of built 3D printing companies of Poland on the scene preceding Zortrax showed up. But, with the Dell story, the entire Polish 3D printing industry was galvanized with international attention suddenly directed towards a country that otherwise may have gone unnoticed. This led to Poland’s own micro bubble, with numerous beginups receiving investments and media coverage indicative of a expanding industry potentially capable of recharging the Polish economy.

Zortrax led the charge. In March 2014, the company issued 10,000 unsecured bonds worth PLN1000 (USD$329) at any timey in order to raise USD$3.5 million. But they nat any time went public, as they’d originally suggested they can, Zortrax continued to gain in popularity, a few day seeing the opening of an official Zortrax showroom and the turn it into of a new 3D printing device geared towards the pro market, the Inventure. The company in addition posted great sales numbers, with Zortrax not long ago delivering in PLN37.6M (USD$9.4M) in sales and earning a net profit of PLN8M (USD$2M) in 2015.

Looking at the company’s publicly disclosed sales numbers, yet, things only don’t seem to add up. In 2015, Zortrax reported selling 5,500 M200 3D printing devices with ractuallyues of PLN37.6M. But, in 2014, the year in that Zortrax claimed to have sold 5,000 printing devices to Dell, ractuallyues were only PLN12M, less than one-third that the next year.

During this time, Zortrax printing devices and filaments remained at the same price. If a much like number of units were sold at any timey year, how, and so, may their ractuallyue have increased so much of 2014 to 2015? On the other hand, if the Dell deal is removed of the equation and 5,000 3D printing devices were not sold in 2014, the numbers manufacture sense.

When asked whether or not the deal with Zortrax at any time in fact took place, a representative at Dell reported that, according to their records, no transaction between Dell and Zortrax has at any time occurred. This does not mean that Zortrax and Dell nat any time initiated a business arrangement, but that it was nat any time actualized in the end.

But Dell ensures that the transaction nat any time took place, the reference to the deal continues to manufacture its way into articles of the 3D printing device developer to this day, which include stories by publications as sizeable as the BBC and Forbes. At USD$1,900 per 3D printing device, the Dell deal, excluding any big discount, may net Zortrax a fewwhere in the ballpark of USD$9.5 million, a significant amount to have claimed, but fabricating such a transaction does not injure anyone on the face of it. The M200 is a printing device that has earned its due respect and in no way had an unpleased customer.

USD$3.5 million in bonds, yet, are tied to investors who can be less than pleased to discover that the company had nat any time sold USD$9.5 million worth of 3D printing devices to a name brand company—particularly when the Dell transaction may have been a lynch pin for selling USD$3.5 million shares on the capital market. Zortrax publicized
the sale of shares, initially in a brochure ahead of the sale of stock. The brochure reads in one section labeled “REASONS FOR INVESTMENT” (translated of Polish): “Signed a contract with Dell to ensure Issuer’s stable financial results Issuer’s and thus the correct handling and repayment of Bonds.”

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A section of a brochure advertising the next sale of Zortrax shares on the Polish capital market.

So, when a memorandum for selling the bonds was drafted, the Dell transaction was described multiple times. On page 29 of the memorandum for the 10,000 bonds, the company wrote (translated of Polish):

Indication of the source of funds for the repayment resulting of securities issued
Liabilities arising of the issued Series A2 Bonds can be repaid of the Issuer’s operating activities. On January 20, 2014. The Company has entered into a contract with an American desktop giant – Dell Inc., Dell Asia Pacific Co., Ltd. The contract is the deliquite by the Issuer of five thousand Zortrax M200 3D printing devices in 2014. Payments for the delivered printing device shall be turn it intod inside up to 28 days after accepting the handover protocol on the side of the receiver.

The scale of the contract provides a dynamic development for the Issuer in the next, and the results and high profits due to the fair margins accomplished of the sale of Zortrax M200 3D printing devices. Moreover, the Issuer negotiates new contracts with international companies of comparable scale to a contract with Dell Inc., Dell Asia Pacific Co., Ltd.

Since and so, the company has ceased to mention Dell in its marketing materials. All mention of the transaction has been scrubbed of the Zortrax website and, in the many new memorandum synonymous with selling 162,500 shares of stock on the capital market, the “American desktop giant”, Dell, is not referred to once.

This Dell deal may not have only been crucial for obtaining the USD$3.5 million investment, but it may have potentially influenced a few investors purchasing the 10,000 shares. The transaction in addition appears to have provided the groundwork for the company’s reputation overall. Just this February, Zortrax CEO Rafał Tomasiak got an honorary red-and-white flag of Andrzej Duda, the President of the Republic of Poland, for the contributions his company has turn it intod to the country.

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Poland’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Science and Higher Education Jaroslaw Gowin standing with Zortrax CEO Rafał Tomasiak.

President Duda was not the only government representative to take notice of the company. The Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Science and Higher Education, Jaroslaw Gowin, visited Zortrax’s new headquarters on July 12th where it was discussed that Zortrax can cooperate with the country’s National Research and Development Center.

More not long ago, in a new pre-IPO investment round, Zortrax decided to sell all of the shares to a sole investor, venture capital firm Ultro, that belongs to Dariusz Miłek, CEO of Polish shoe giant CCC and the fourth richest Pole in the world according to Forbes. Purchasing all 1.2 million shares for PLN$44 million, Ultro now owns 15% of the 3D printing device company. The funds can be utilized to turn it into new printing devices and actually gain other companies.

With this news in mind, it’s worth thinking that, had it not been for one quite sizeable deal with a quite familiar tech giant, Zortrax may nat any time have broken through the insular Polish 3D printing ecosystem and into the industry at sizeable.

The company’s products have been seen as great high end and reliable overall—though the Inventure printing device nat any time turn it intod it to market due to making issues in China—so investors may not be ultimately disappointed with purchasing shares in Zortrax. If they are disappointed, yet, the deal may prove to be problematic in the case of a civil lawsuit or, worse, criminal proceedings.

mmhMichael Molitch-Hou is the Editor of ENGINEERING.com’s 3D printing section. Michael previously served as Editor-in-Chief of 3D Printing Industry and has covered additive making innovation day in and day out since 2012 and has hundreds of article to his credit.