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Voxeljet’s IPO: A Cautious Move in the Service Sector?

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On September 17th, Voxeljet announced that it is trying to raise up to $100 million in an IPO.  Voxeljet had previously filed with the NYSE confidentially on August 12 under the symbol VJET.

Currently Voxeljet claims to offer one of Europe’s largest 3D printing service centers in its 16,000 square foot German facility and it seems likely that if the company has a successful IPO much of its new money will go into its service business.

In its filings, Voxeljet says it will both expand its European service center, as well as open service centers in both North America and Asia.

This strategy makes a lot of sense to us at SmarTech.  By 2018, we expect that services will be the biggest sector of the 3D printing market clocking up $2.8 billion in revenues.  So Voxeljet is tapping into 3D printing’s biggest revenue stream.

But we also see Voxeljet’s move as cautious:

Voxeljet must compete with ExOne, a significantly larger company.  ExOne already has six service centers around the world and has announced its intention to open nine more service more centers around the world by 2015.

With no end in sight to the poor European economy, it seems good policy for Voxeljet to diversify its customer base through expanding service centers to geographies where economic growth prospects are better than Europe.

Nothing wrong with being cautious in today’s world.  But we won’t know for sure whether Voxeljet is a winner or a loser for a few more years yet.