Seurat CFO Di Paola Shares Insights on Defying Industry Trends in 3D Printing

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In an industry where 3D printing public companies are grappling with troubled earnings and workforce reductions, Seurat is defying market trends by increasing its workforce sevenfold, growing from 20 to 140 employees in the last two years amidst a landscape of layoffs. As competitors announce restructuring initiatives, Seurat is attracting more investment and setting its sights on becoming the next leader in the 3D printing industry. CFO Anthony Di Paola discussed Seurat’s unique business model, strategic vision, and the factors driving its success in a challenging environment during an interview with 3DPrint.com.

Seurat’s team is growing. Image courtesy of Seurat.

Seurat recently made headlines with a historic investment, securing a $99 million Series C funding round led by NVIDIA (BCBA: NVDA) and Capricorn’s Technology Impact Fund at a time when raising funds is not as easy as it was three years ago. As Di Paola indicates, investors have retrenched and are reserving capital to invest in existing portfolio companies. Still, it seems there is money out there for good investments. Seurat’s pilot factory in the Boston area will have the capacity to produce more than 25 tons of metal parts annually. Still, it has already been oversubscribed, so Di Paola remarks that their biggest challenge right now is machine capacity. But that won’t be a problem for long since the funds raised will help the company build its pilot factory and then scale up manufacturing so that when the time comes, it can ramp up quickly to produce the additional commercial machines.

“For us, the ideal investor has a long-term perspective. Strategic investors who can ultimately be our customers are incredibly important as well,” indicates Di Paola. “Talking to investors is an art, not a science. As we went through our last funding round, we found that a lot of the investors that we spoke to were super interested in our technology, business model, and the team that we had assembled. Those three assets really set us apart from other companies.”

This achievement comes on the heels of Seurat’s exponential growth in 2023. The company is now gearing up to increase its workforce in the greater Boston area by approximately 30% in 2024 and was recognized as one of the “Top Places to Work” in Massachusetts for the second consecutive year in the 15th annual employee-based survey project by The Boston Globe.

Seurat raises funds. Image courtesy of Seurat via LinkedIn.

Print & Prosper

A Boston-based pioneer in 3D metal manufacturing, Seurat has carved a niche for itself as a force in the industry and an advocate of green manufacturing driven by sustainable energy. With strong backing from major industry players such as NVentures (NVIDIA’s venture capital arm), Honda, True Ventures, and others, Seurat says it is at the forefront of reimagining local manufacturing practices.

Powered by 100% green energy, Seurat’s Area Printing technology is changing how things are made by printing metal parts with extreme precision and speed, all while reducing carbon emissions. Recently, Seurat achieved an important milestone by using eco-friendly 316L stainless steel powder in its printing process, making a positive impact on the environment. With a $99 million investment, the brand is ready to expand its technology for large-scale production of metal parts. Their innovative approach uses special in-house-built optical semiconductor devices to pattern high-power laser beams into an image containing a million points of light, greatly speeding up the printing process. This investment brings Seurat’s total funding to roughly $180 million, helping them achieve their goal of revolutionizing manufacturing with green technology.

The executive highlighted Seurat’s commitment to sustainability, focusing on reducing waste in manufacturing through additive processes and utilizing green energy for production facilities. Investors are particularly interested in Seurat’s approach to clean, cost-effective manufacturing and the potential for strategic partnerships with major players like NVIDIA. With a clear roadmap for growth and a solid team in place, Seurat is poised for success in a rapidly evolving industry, offering investors a promising opportunity to support innovative and sustainable manufacturing practices.

Green Power, Metal Might

Seurat is on a unique path in the 3D printing industry, aiming for significant growth and recognition, explains Di Paola. Unlike several companies in the sector that chose to go public in the last years and are now feeling the pressure of that decision, Seurat’s focus in the short term is on making high-quality metal parts while being eco-friendly, a feat that has caught the eye of big investors.

“It’s certainly within the bounds of our business plan to perhaps one day go to the public markets to raise equity depending on market conditions. However, you’ve gotta put down a couple of years of solid earnings and solid, predictable revenue before you address the public markets. Lots of companies struggle when they go into the public markets,” remarked Di Paola. “We think this could be a billion-dollar company at some point in the near future. We’re not ready to say whether that’s three or four years from now, but we think we can grow to a sizable player in the manufacturing space. But we are after a multi-trillion dollar market, so there are lots of opportunities for us to establish what we think a printing factory at capacity looks like. This could generate anywhere from $130 million to $150 million in revenue.”

Seurat CFO Anthony Di Paola. Image courtesy of Seurat.

Tech Alchemy

According to Di Paola, Seurat’s approach in the 3D printing industry attracts investors due to its sound business model and technology, setting it apart from other companies facing challenges with public earnings. Unlike some traditional 3D printing businesses that often offer high-end machines priced over half a million dollars, Seurat strives to compete with machining and, eventually, casting and forging, targeting the perfect fit in manufacturing that combines high precision and volume. Di Paola also pointed out that Seurat will offer a turnkey solution by selling printed, finished parts rather than equipment, allowing customers to benefit from additive manufacturing without needing large capital investments.

“We’re a little bit different. We think we can compete with traditional manufacturing as opposed to many 3D printing companies. When you look at the 3D printing space that exists now, it’s either really high-end, low-volume, high-value products or really low-value, high-volume. We think we can be somewhere in the middle, which is really where the sweet spot is for traditional manufacturing now. So we can compete with machining and then ultimately casting and forging. But right now, our focus is on competing with machining, which is an attractive model for investors. The addressable market for us is in the trillions of dollars because, again, it’s the entire industry, the manufacturing industry, that we can compete with,” explains Di Paola.

With a business model unlike other competitors in the space, Seurat’s strategy is to set up a printing factory close to a customer site to deliver finished parts, offering a turnkey solution to an existing product. With the advantage of not having to warehouse the products, Seurat can onshore the production process anywhere the customer needs, whether in the US,  Europe, or Asia. That’s a way to unlock the customers and the industry, says Di Paola, since Seurat is not asking them to buy a capital piece of equipment. Instead, they ask businesses to trade out an existing supplier for a new one.

Seurat’s approach and focus position it as a notable player in the additive manufacturing sector. The company’s growth and strategic investments show a clear vision for the future, focusing on innovative technology and ecological practices. By combining growth with environmental care, Seurat is setting a new standard in the industry, promising steady progress and reliability in the face of changing market dynamics.

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