Earlier this week, we published an article breaking news that came as a shock to many: the big deal that put the Polish 3D printing industry on the map never went through. Zortrax, known for high-quality 3D printing hardware including the tried-and-true M200, had used a huge deal for 5,000 machines sold to Dell to highlight the quality of and demand for their 3D printers back in 2014. As Michael Molitch-Hou discovered, however, the deal never went through.
Molitch-Hou noted, in part:
“The whole thing began about two years back, when an unknown 3D printer startup out of Poland suddenly became an international player with a massive bit of news: PC manufacturer Dell had placed an order for 5,000 of their desktop 3D printers. Zortax seemed ordinary from the start, just a small business with yet another desktop 3D printer on Kickstarter. After the news about Dell, however, it was natural to wonder what made their relatively simple M200 3D printer so special.”
“Looking at the company’s publicly disclosed sales numbers, however, things just don’t seem to add up. In 2015, Zortrax reported selling 5,500 M200 3D printers with revenues of PLN37.6M. However, in 2014, the year in which Zortrax claimed to have sold 5,000 printers to Dell, revenues were only PLN12M, less than one-third that the following year.
During this time, Zortrax printers and filaments remained at the same price. If a similar number of units were sold each year, how, then, could their revenue have increased so much from 2014 to 2015? On the other hand, if the Dell deal is removed from the equation and 5,000 3D printers were not sold in 2014, the numbers make sense.”
Dell confirmed that, in fact, the deal never did go through.
“When asked whether or not the deal with Zortrax ever actually took place, a representative at Dell reported that, according to their records, no transaction between Dell and Zortrax has ever occurred. This does not mean that Zortrax and Dell never initiated a business arrangement, but that it was never actualized in the end,” Molitch-Hou reported.
Zortax has enjoyed an excellent reputation in the 3D printing industry, putting out high-quality, reliable desktop machines. Rather than let the story go unfinished, we were provided with a statement from Zortrax disclosing that, in fact, the famed 5,000 machines were never ultimately sold to Dell — and they had also stopped highlighting the sale upon its non-closure.
A representative from Zortrax noted — as has been added to the original article:
“In late 2013 and early 2014, prior to the commercial launch of our debut 3D printer, strong interest in the product provided a good outlook for our entry into the 3D printing sector. A potential contract with the Asian division of Dell, noted in the article, was communicated through various marketing channels, due to a mutual good faith effort to complete the deal. Due to confidentiality of the agreement, we are not able to reveal additional details of the contract, other than to say that it could not be completed on mutually acceptable terms and conditions by both parties.
We want to clearly communicate that information related to this opportunity was, and has been clearly communicated to prospective investors. As the article noted, Zortrax discontinued communication efforts regarding the potential contract in our marketing communications, addresses to the market, and conversations with investors due to its unsuccessful conclusion.
We would like to note that financial numbers quoted in the article do clearly indicate the usage of real numbers. Potential profits from unrealized contracts are not reported and were not formally included for the basis of establishing the valuation of the company.
Since 2011, Zortrax has focused efforts on providing the highest quality products and services in the field of 3D printing technology. This effort has been validated by, among other things, numerous honors and awards, and constant company growth creating new jobs, and the further development of innovative products and services.”