As I am often wandering around trade shows within the 3D printing industry, particularly Inside 3D Printing and International CES, it seems as though every time, I am drawn to Aleph Objects’ LulzBot 3D printing booth. Perhaps it’s the walls of 3D printer clusters they often have on display, or the approachability and excitement beaming from those working the booths, many times a young man named Harris Kenny, which ultimately makes me want to learn more about the company. Whatever it is, Loveland, Colorado-based Aleph Objects is doing something right.
In fact, at the last show I attended I was able to get a glimpse at just how rapidly the company was growing their revenue stream for their LulzBot brand. Kenny put a chart in front of me, depicting an exponential curve showing revenue over time. Quite honestly, it blew me away. It was apparent that LulzBot was a direct beneficiary of the rapidly expanding market for desktop 3D printers which analysts predict will grow by approximately 100% each year over the next several years.
LulzBot, however, seems to be exceeding the growth trajectory of the entire industry. In fact, they are doing so by quite a wide margin according to information sent to us today by the company. They say that sales of their LulzBot TAZ and Mini 3D printers have been surging over the last couple years. In 2012 the company realized $523,706 in revenue, stemming from desktop printer sales. Fast forward to last year, and they grew this figure by a staggering 809% to $4,761,390. Not bad growth at all over a two year window, considering that at the same time the sales of desktop machines within the entire industry has grown anywhere from 300-450%, depending on which report you believe. This means that Lulzbot is growing at twice the rate as that of the entire desktop 3D printing industry.
That’s not all though. It appears as though 2015 will continue this torrid pace, with revenue as of May already surpassing the $4.7 million+ earned in 2014, with 7 months still remaining in the year. This growth is not only padding the pockets of company executives, it’s a boon for the local Loveland, Colorado economy, as the’ve hired 67 new employees over the last 18 months alone.
As the company expands, they have seemingly avoided many of the pitfalls that rapid expansion can oftentimes put in the way of a young company. Customer satisfaction remains incredibly high, their printers continue to receive award after award, with the company as a whole being recognized for several major awards in the state of Colorado, including:
- Colorado Companies to Watch (50 winners out of over 1,200 applicants)
- Made in Colorado Top 250 Manufacturers
- Mercury 100 – Fastest Growing Company in Northern Colorado (784% at the time of submission, a revenue correction raises this to 809%)
- Fort Collins Chamber of Commerce Small Business of the Year — Large Company Finalist
Additionally, over the last year, the company has been featured on many mainstream media platforms such as NBC’s ‘Today Show’ and The Science Channel’s ‘How It’s Made’.
What might be the most incredible aspect of all of this, is the fact that Aleph Objects has managed to accomplish this growth by keeping all their printers totally open sourced. While other companies have used the patent system to keep their technology secure and in their own hands, Aleph Objects has embraced the open source movement, allowing any other companies to compete with them using technologies that they have developed. This is in an attempt to win over fans while more importantly providing fuel for the continued growth of the entire industry. So far it seems to be working quite well.
Have you ever used a LulzBot 3D printer? What did you think? What are your thoughts on the company’s staggering growth numbers? Let us know in the LulzBot forum thread on 3DB.com.
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