Success on Kickstarter is no guarantee of the viability of a product, but it sure doesn't hurt when it comes to attracting the attention of the investment community.
Fuel 3D Technologies Ltd., the developers of 3D scanning solutions, proved that by securing a $2.6 million infusion of early stage financing aimed at advancing the development of its Fuel3D scanner technology. The funding was provided by a syndicate of private investors, led by Benjamin Gill of London's Chimera Partners group.
A mezzanine financing round is expected to take place this spring, and it's a good bet that the news signals the company's intent to complete an initial public offering (IPO) as early as 2015.
"We have established a core group of shareholders that have taken a long term view on the technology and management of Fuel 3D Technologies," said Gill. "The 3D printing market is the focus of significant investor interest at the moment, and Fuel 3D's disruptive technology feeds that interest from a unique angle. We are actively exploring a number of interesting financing options, including the possibility of an early IPO."
A good share of the investor heat around Fuel 3D Technologies came from a 2013 Kickstarter campaign which saw the company raise more than $300,000 for the development their affordable, high resolution, handheld 3D scanner.
"We had a phenomenal response to our product on Kickstarter and the attention this generated led to many inquiries from the broader investment community," said Stuart Mead, CEO of Fuel 3D Technologies. "We have always been confident that our technology has the potential to revolutionize the industry and are delighted to have found a group of ambitious and well-resourced investors who share our vision."
Mead, who has a 25-year-long history in technology industries and is experienced in sales and marketing, served as the CEO of advanced prosthetics company Touch Bionics and biopharmaceuticals manufacturer Excell Biotech. He was also a senior manager in both Kodak Clinical Diagnostics and Johnson & Johnson.
The Fuel3D scanner is the first 3D scanner to combine pre-calibrated stereo cameras with photometric imaging. Expected to retail at around $1,500 per unit, the relatively low-cost scanner represents a new competitor in a marketplace for handheld 3D scanners which typically sees products retail in the $15,000 and above range.
Developed by an expert team of hardware and software engineers and scientists and based on technology developed by Professor Ron Daniel, a Lecturer in Engineering Science at Oxford University, the Fuel3D scanner was originally developed for use by the medical imaging sector. Now adapted for the broader 3D modeling and printing market, the company says its goal is "bringing the benefits of point-and-shoot 3D imaging to consumers and professionals alike."