Additive manufacturing — or 3D printing — has been hailed as the future of manufacturing. However, adoption of this new technology has been slower than expected. A dominant mode of 3D printing and a dominant player in the industry are both still lacking.

Creative 3D Technologies is trying to solve a common 3D printing pain point with its innovative printer. Founder Ethan Baehrand doesn’t think you should have to sacrifice fine detail for high build volume, which is often the case with other printers. Creative 3D combines printing technology from multiple modes and formats into one, harnessing the strengths and eliminating the weaknesses. We talked to Ethan about the personal experiences that inspired him to start Creative 3D and where he thinks the industry is heading.

Note: This interview was conducted over email. It has been lightly edited for clarity and length.

Funding Round Details

Creative 3D Technologies logo
Company: Creative 3D Technologies
Security Type: Convertible Note
Valuation: $4,500,000
Min Investment: $100
Platform: Microventures
Deadline: Jan 4, 2021
View Deal

Can you give us a brief elevator pitch for your company?

Creative 3D Technologies is a 3D printer innovation firm focused on manufacturing cost-effective and flexible all-in-one 3D printing technology. Our printers incorporate the capabilities of multiple 3D printers and manufacturing tools into single products. The company brings fresh ideas, a new perspective, and an innovative set of practices to the industry [by] providing cutting-edge, high-quality 3d printers at accessible prices.

What inspired you to take the leap and build this company?

I had actually taken the first steps towards Duo to improve and scale my 3D printer refurbishing business. I realized I was printing separate types of parts on separate printers just to combine them to create a finished piece. I wanted an efficient 3D printer that encompassed those capabilities in a single machine. After the first working prototype, I quickly gained interest in what I had, getting requests to buy it almost instantly. I realized the potential behind what I had and my own potential as a business owner and started Creative 3D Technologies.

What past experiences prepared you to start, build, and lead your company?

Though I’m quite young, I’m by no means inexperienced. I’m an industry-veteran with years of work behind me. I was running a business of refurbishing and custom upgrading 3D printers for a couple of years by the time I started Creative 3D Technologies. The experience of  personally being inside dozens of different products, improving them, working directly with customers, and years of industry observation gave me the backing I needed to start Creative 3D Technologies.

What is your vision for the future of the industry you are operating in?

My answer to this is a bit interesting, regarding the scale of the industry. I believe it’s going to grow heavily, with most companies adopting 3D printing into their design processes, and many even utilizing it for full-production if the industry evolves it from a jobbing process.

In regard to the dynamic of it, at the current pace, I personally believe it’s moving towards a point of hyper-specialization. Where depending on what specific type of customer you are, you would need to purchase a specifically-abled 3D printer. I believe that’s where things are headed, unless a company manages to successfully disrupt this dynamic with creating 3D printers that combine printing specialties.

Who is on your team and how did you come together?

Currently, it’s just Creative ITC and myself. We venture down this path alone until we manage to move into production and hire staff & team members. Off paper though, there are many more people supporting what I’m doing, providing me with advice, and helping push me in the right direction on a daily basis.

Creative ITC invested in my company as an active partner in 2017, not long after I founded my company. They believe in my company’s vision and my ability to make it successful. I had my first prototype at that point, they funded my development of Duo, design of Dyad Shift, and market testing to see if there was a demand for what I had, which we received a very positive response when we displayed it.

Do you have any competition, if so, how do you differentiate?

In regard to direct competition, I personally don’t believe we have a direct competitor. From my own personal observations, I believe the industry is already somewhat specialized as mentioned earlier. Customers purchase specific printers that mainly hold one or two specific functions. For example, large printers that are capable of large parts typically can’t produce very fine detail, or fine detail printers can’t produce larger parts or print in certain materials… the comparison list goes on. After hundreds of hours of searching, I have yet to find another company that combines as many printing specialties as Creative 3D does. Given that fact, I don’t believe we have direct competition as I believe what we’re doing is fairly unique.

Regarding less direct competition, I do believe we have competitors for some of our products specific printing styles that we merge. For example, I believe BigRep or Builder3D to be our closest competition in regard to Duo’s large format printing capabilities; or BCN3D, and Stacker3D as our closest to the batch printing capabilities.

What does your business model look like?

Creative 3D Technologies will primarily profit from the sale of 3D printers. We will directly sell to customers and from future partners who offer our products on their platforms. Additionally, as new formats of 3D printing are developed we will continue to release add-ons and Toolheads to be useful for new customer needs and to be relevant for years to come. 

Duo is only our first step, being a product relevant to the largest number of customers possible at a very accessible price to help build a positive reputation of Creative 3D. We hope to release [other] products to sate different levels of customers. Such as Dyad Shift, which will combine not just capabilities of 3D printers, but of many manufacturing tools as well. Dyad Shift is being engineered to create fully finished parts/products in mass, autonomously.

What brought you to equity crowdfunding and how do you intend to use the money you raise this round to scale the business?

I’ve connected with many people who wish to support Creative 3D Technologies but aren’t accredited investors. A raise that’s accessible to the public would enable them, accredited investors, and others to get in on the ground floor of Creative 3D Technologies.

Creative 3D Technologies intends to use the funds from this raise to begin in-house production of Duo, complete development of Dyad Shift, finally getting our printers to those waiting for them. Early funding is our greatest barrier to entry, as the costs of producing in-house are initially greater than partnering, but I believe the benefits are immediate and immense. Providing us with a high level of quality control, allowing us to constantly improve upon the products post-release, and continuous stress-testing as we utilize Duos to produce Duo.

What do you want potential investors to know about you and/or your company?

Well first of all, I’d like potential investors to know about me or my company in the first place haha. But that aside, I want potential investors to understand the genuine passion that’s fueling this company. It was built out of love for the technology and a desire to improve it for the better, to make its users happier and enable their creative potential. Additionally, I’d like them to know I don’t intend for Creative 3D to be a “one hit wonder.” Duo is merely our introduction to the market, I believe we have many more disruptive things in store for the marketplace.

As you think about the business 5-10 years down the road, what do you see exit opportunities looking like? Have you set any future goals for the company?

In the late future, I hope that Creative 3D Technologies could ultimately exit as an IPO. I’d personally much prefer that versus being acquired or merged, but of course none of these outcomes are guaranteed. Creative 3D Technologies is something I have and want to continue dedicating myself towards. I’m genuinely passionate about it, and not in the modern sense of the word where it’s used to refer to a preferred career. If I was given the option to do absolutely anything with my time, I’d still pursue this, that’s how I can work 130+ hours a week and be up at 3AM with a smile on my face because I love what I do. I want to make Creative 3D Technologies a major industry player.

In regard to future goals, right now my two goals are to get Creative 3D funded and to make quality products that customers enjoy.

We at KingsCrowd are excited to see where Ethan takes the company. Creative 3D Technologies is currently raising on MicroVentures.