Sigma Labs, a leading developer of in-process non-destructive quality inspection systems, has long been on our radar, as the company has been involved in QA testing in metal additive manufacturing for some time now, recently signing a non-exclusive license to allow Aerojet Rocketdyne to use their PrintRite 3D software applications to evaluate 3D printed components used in manufacturing for the US Air Force. The company also signed a half-million-dollar contract earlier this year with GE Aviation and America Makes, as well as forming a complementary partnership with 3DSIM. As the company continues its path of growth in quality inspection systems for metal-based AM technologies, along with other advanced manufacturing systems, Sigma Labs has recently announced the appointment of a new Chief Financial Officer.
Announced just last week, and effective as of July 18th, Buy.com founder Murray Williams is Sigma Labs’ new CFO, bringing with him decades of experience — and welcomed aboard at Sigma Labs with open arms.
“It gives me great pleasure to announce Murray’s decision to join Sigma Labs, where I know he’ll begin making a meaningful contribution from day one. Murray’s years of experience in all aspects of finance and business development – along with his unique knowledge of growing early-stage, technology-driven enterprises – bolsters Sigma Labs as we move into the next phase of our development. Having a professional like Murray on board clearly validates where we believe the future lies not only for Sigma Labs but for the AM industry in general. He will assist us in achieving our potential as we focus on faster growth and a path to profitability,” said Mark Cola, President and CEO of Sigma Labs.
Having heard of Williams’ appointment, I was eager to learn more about what his appointment will mean for Sigma Labs. As the company is clearly succeeding in partnerships, licenses, and contracts that bring a great buzz to the additive manufacturing industry as a whole, it is important that the organization have the right team in place to ensure proper channels of growth — and of course the financial aspect of that is critical to any company’s success.
I recently had the opportunity to pose just A Few Questions For Murray Williams about his appointment at Sigma Labs.
Can you briefly describe your background in financing for us?
I’m a CPA and began my career in public accounting with KMPG. I was a manager in their audit practice with a team of over 20 professionals and left KPMG after 5 years to become one of five founding members of Buy.Com, Inc. (now Rakuten.com). I served as Buy.com’s chief financial officer and VP of business development, and created and developed the accounting, finance, legal, business development and human resource departments, growing the company from 5 employees to 350 employees with 500 outsourced customer service representatives, achieving $1 billion in sales after three years. After Buy.com’s sale in 2001, I consulted for an investment-banking firm and served as interim CFO for their clients; working with the auditors, attorneys and bankers to take those companies public. In 2003 I founded a consulting firm that specializes in taking companies public and managing the accounting, finance, legal and SEC financial reporting functions, and served as CFO of many of the clients.
How has your background prepared you for work with Sigma Labs?
I believe my 23.5 years experience dealing with accounting, finance, legal, business development and SEC financial reporting will help Sigma Labs manage all the issues that publicly traded companies and fast growth companies typically deal with. I believe all of the things we experienced growing Buy.com from zero revenues to $1 billion in revenues with 350 employees will be very beneficial as Sigma Labs embarks on the path to becoming a leading provider of software quality assurance solutions for the industrial internet of things (IIoT).
How do you foresee your approach to assisting the growth in the additive manufacturing field?
Our PrintRite3D QA software is an enabling technology that will allow manufacturers to move from prototyping and small lot manufacturing runs to volume production levels as well as achieve and maintain compliance to strict regulatory guidelines such as those issued recently by the FDA.
What is your perception of the AM industry as it stands now? In five years? In ten?
Today, the timeline for the Additive Manufacturing industry is at a point that is analogous to the manufacturing industry of the early 20th century. For the past 90 years, we have used final inspection to verify product conformance to specifications and statistics and to quantify the consistency of the process in meeting those specifications. In-Process Quality Assurance, therefore, represents the first major new concept in quality control in almost a century. Its impact may well be as far-reaching in this century as statistical process control has been in the last century. In five to ten years we expect In-Process Quality Assurance and control to significantly increase our ability to characterize and control manufacturing processes of small precision lots. The potent combination of inexpensive and virtually limitless computational power, inexpensive sensors, and algorithms capable of dealing with big, complex data sets has set the stage for a revolution in our approach to manufacturing quality…enter the industrial internet of things (IIoT).
Where do you see Sigma Labs’ place being in the AM industry as it grows?
Sigma Labs is positioning itself to be a leading provider of software quality assurance solutions for the industrial internet of things (IIoT). Sigma Labs is positioned to provide QA software solutions not just for additive manufacturing but also other advanced manufacturing technologies that today are not capable of making the transition to the IIoT without an enabling technology like Sigma Labs’ PrintRite3D.
What does a path to profitability typically look like in AM? What trajectory must a company take to achieve its goals?
Sigma Labs’ path to profitability will be very similar to the path to profitability of most software companies….create cutting-edge products that provide savings for our customers which are far greater than the cost of our products, develop a large user-base and provide exceptional customer service.
Do you have any other thoughts you’d like to share with us about metal 3D printing?
To summarize, metal 3D printing or metal AM is today in the early stages of its product evolution moving from early adopters to early majority. Metal AM today is at the chasm that exists between these two stages. Sigma Labs’ PrintRite3D QA software suite has been designed to bridge the gap and allow early adopters to move contiguously and seamlessly from their process development efforts into volume production. In so doing, the early adopters have provided the much needed leadership and connectedness to the broader community and other potential adopters.
With decades of experience and a clear enthusiasm for his new position, Williams’ appointment seems a strong step forward for Sigma Labs. We will look forward to continuing to follow their growth.
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