Feb.6, 2015 | By Alec

With all those exciting new 3D printing start-ups appearing almost on a daily basis, you could conclude that the 3D printing business is booming. And that is technically true. But if you’re thinking about getting a slice of that crowdfunding pie and creating a business for yourself, just know that it’s more about cool products and flashy designs – engineering, production, delivery are all areas that offer significant problems to many start-ups.

Now I am not saying that you can’t trust Kickstarter campaigns (quite the contrary, in our experience many are great, well-organized and offer wonderful value), but I’m saying that you should learn from other’s mistakes. And just because a few things go wrong, doesn’t mean a company is doomed – just now, we learned that Pirate 3D, a controversial in 3D printing crowdfunding history, is starting to unroll an ambitious new plan thanks to a $2 million round of investments.

The Buccaneer 3D printer, that has been making headlines for a number of different reasons.

For those of you who’ve never heard of them before, Pirate3D has been working on very stylish-looking and quite affordable 3D printers since June 2013, when they were widely successful on Kickstarter. In fact, by raising $1,438,765 in just 30 days (or more than 1400% of their goal), they set a crowdfunding record for FDM 3D printers.

But sadly, it went all downhill from there. With significant delays and unanticipated design and organization problems, they missed all their initial deadlines and further angered their backers by failing to deliver on their technical promises. Many backers demanded their money back. And even that turned sour, as many were told they couldn’t expect that money before 2016 or even 2017. And even now, only about 15 percent of backers have been refunded.

But the story of Pirate3D doesn’t stop there, as they’re hoping to enter a new chapter in the coming months. According to Asian media, they have been very successful in a new round of investments, gathering $2 million from individual investors from Singapore and Germany and from a Singapore-based investment company called Low Capital Management. All this was partly raised due to their excellent valuation (reportedly, the company was worth more than $8 million already), and due to some new plans for 3D printer models.

The new funds will, or so Pirate3D stated, towards fulfilling existing orders and refund requests, as well as towards expanding their manufacturing and development departments. "[We want] to really ramp up production and get those sweet volume discounts. If we buy materials in bulk we save 25 to 30 percent off the printer bill of materials price, which is fantastic," one of its co-founders, Brendan Goh, told reporters.

This new round of investments thus arrived just in time for the company, as Goh said the company would face a "tight squeeze" due to staffing and other costs. But they also want to use it to look forward towards new opportunities and expand, for instance into markets in the Middle East and Africa. Goh also speculated about how to increase their appeal to everyday consumers, praising the advantages of having Apple-Genius types in stores to make people more enthusiast. "Retail becomes more of a showroom which is something most brick and mortar retailers are seeing with most products actually," he says.

But more importantly, Goh stated that Pirate3D has also began looking at production options for high-quality 3D printers for small businesses and designers like architects. These printers, he explained, would focus on the middle market between desktop tinkerers and large scale professional manufacturers, and would primarly become prototyping tools. The new printer will emphasize speed and printing size over precision, he said. He didn't mention about the price, but he said that they've found a need in the market for 3D printers that's "superbly quick and reliable and under $5,000."

“I wouldn’t say consumer printers won’t work but when you deal with a certain segment and you see some needs there, why leave money on the table?” Goh said.

Moving into the professional user market may be a good strategy for Pirate3D, but we’d be happier if Pirate3D started with refunding their backers first.

 

Posted in 3D Printing Company

 

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Joe wrote at 10/30/2015 9:03:28 AM:

From that recent article, they said they realize since 2 years ago it would cost more than they anticipated and it couldn't be done with the money they have. So in the past 2 years, they have been lying to backers all along. They could have abandon ship and gave out refunds before they burn through the cash by attending trade fairs and setting up booths. They should have set their priorities straight and focus on sending the products to backers before spending all on marketing. The kids talks about integrity and transparency, they stop updating and replying on Kick starter, yet they continue to update their FB page. Either way enough of the bashing, hopefully they stay afloat, make enough money to send items out to backers in the next years to come.

Pirate3DScam wrote at 10/19/2015 6:39:28 AM:

http://e27.co/the-most-important-thing-for-us-is-integrity-pirate3d-ceo-brendan-goh-20151015/ Has anyone gotten really angry with you? Everyone has been very very supportive. They say, ‘This is the life of the startup’. There are a lot of companies that go through things like this with much larger problems. This guy is so full of himself.

joey wrote at 9/9/2015 10:19:30 AM:

I think they have a logistic and delivery issue. They offer to compensate me with 2 extra filaments if i collect the printer from their workshop in Singapore and since I live there its not an issue. I have not taken the printer out of the box yet so fingers cross.

Carles Oriol wrote at 9/2/2015 11:53:32 AM:

They are thieves. Stay away if you don't want to lose your money and never get a printer. They should be in jail.They are thieves. Stay away if you don't want to lose your money and never get a printer. They should be in jail.

Phil R wrote at 7/31/2015 10:01:12 PM:

I backed them, got my printer, it sucks. Support was horrible.

Kim wrote at 6/22/2015 9:01:37 PM:

Kicksterter backer of this project - lost $397, and they are now saying they will no longer be honoring their refund promises. So, apparently, they just stole $397 from me. SCAMMERS. And yeah, I'm totally interested in a class-action. Hell, I'm interested in LOSING money to file a suit in Palo Alto to get my money back from these cheats. At least then my money would be going somewhere other than their pockets. Ugh.

J. D. wrote at 6/18/2015 8:14:37 AM:

I had high hope for them. However, I believe I was bamboozled as hell by giving out my hard-earned money for nothing. They delivered nothing. Neither a printer nor a refund. Anyone interested in class action against them?

J. D. wrote at 6/18/2015 8:13:53 AM:

I had high hope for them. However, I believe I was bamboozled as hell by giving out my hard-earned money for nothing. They delivered nothing. Neither a printer nor a refund. Anyone interested in class action against them?

Phil wrote at 6/6/2015 2:39:48 AM:

They are liars and cheats

Phil wrote at 6/6/2015 2:30:22 AM:

They are liars and cheats

Jen wrote at 6/2/2015 6:16:47 AM:

If it helps, my husband was one of the original backers as well and he just got his 3D printer this weekend. I thought he should have requested the refund, but he stuck with it, and he's currently printing out his first object :)

L Monaghan wrote at 5/11/2015 6:13:06 AM:

I feel sorry for whoever gave these people this money. I am one of the original kickstarter backers and have never seen a thing for the money invested. No printer, no refund.. nothing. These people are not to be trusted.



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