tct MagazineSam DaviesNovember 11, 2020
Four years ago, two 3D printing start-ups – a Stereolithography (SLA) vendor from Rome, Italy and a Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) system provider from Krakow – made a gutsy decision to up sticks, move their respective businesses across the Atlantic Ocean and settle in Ventura, California under the stewardship of a former 3D Systems CEO.
Avi Reichental’s new venture, XponentialWorks, was just getting started. It was scouting young and innovative companies, investing in some abroad and persuading others that he would become co-founder of to base themselves in California. The idea was that the likes of Nexa3D and NXT Factory could ‘collide’ in the same facility space; benefit from the same guidance, marketing and domain expertise in AI and robotics; and use the same IP firm.
That idea grew. As both begun laying the foundations for commercialisation of their respective SLA and SLS technologies, they agreed to use their existing space as the facility to build both Nexa’s NXE400 and NXT Factory’s Quantum Laser Sintering (QLS) 350 system, utilising much of the same supply chain. By the end of 2019, Reichental sat as the CEO of Nexa3D and discussions were underway about how the two companies might take the next step.
“As our campus in Ventura expanded,” Reichental recalls, “we, in parallel, built two very complementary products and, at a certain time towards the end of 2019, we began to realise that we were finding ourselves repeating for NXT Factory a lot of the steps that we’ve taken maybe six or nine months prior with Nexa3D, which is a little bit further ahead in its evolution. Namely, how do we set-up the go-to market? How do we go and create the reseller arrangements? How do we sell and market the product? How do we provide the pre- and post-sale, and also ongoing customer success operations?”
Those questions would eventually be answered, but not before COVID-19 swept across the two companies’ old home of Europe and their current one of the United States. At once, the Nexa3D and NXT Factory teams were talking, about on acquiring the other, and acting, in response to the pandemic. Reichental has many ways of describing the pandemic. An ‘awakening’ and a ‘catalyst’, ‘hard’ but ‘productive’. It has been a busy period for the company, maintaining momentum with the sale of 70 NXE400 platforms, the signing of distribution agreements, the release of around half a dozen new materials, and in the run-up to Formnext Connect, the release of the xCure post-processing system.