Exclusive Interview with Eugene Suyu, Founder and CEO, Tinkerine (TTD.V)

I had the chance to talk to Eugene Suyu, the young CEO and founder of Tinkerine, one of the leading Canadian 3D printing manufacturers. During the long chat I had with him, I had the opportunity to discuss the Tinkerine vision, last year’s performance, and how Eugene intends to bring the company to profitability.

Tinkerine (TTD.V): the Only Listed dDesktop 3D Printer Manufacturer

Tinkerine is a Canadian manufacturer of desktop 3D printers – specifically the Tinkerine Ditto Pro 3D printer, assembled in Vancouver – with a strong focus on the education market. It is listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange, following a reverse take over in 2014. Currently 43M shares are outstanding, giving the company a small market capitalization of just under $2M USD. The company reported sales of $1M USD in 2015, a significant increase from 2014 numbers (+270%). Eugene stressed the quality, reliability, and usability of the machine and its strong appeal to schools and universities in Canada and the USA as reason for the strong performance. These two markets represented 90% of the sales. Eugene does not expect this percentage to change significantly in 2016.

ditto_pro 3d printer 3d printing industry feature

Tinkerine: a Small Team of Young, Talented and Focused People

Eugene explained to me in detail how the small team of 14 people managed to handle the significant growth experienced in 2015. Thanks to their dedication and passion, the company shipped over 500 machines in 2015, and kept cost under control. The education sector represented 85% of the sales. The CEO expect this proportion to remain significant in 2016. This should make the 2nd and 3rd quarters higher than the 1st and 4th quarter of 2016. The average age for the team is only 28 years old.

Tinkerine Targets Profitability by End 2016

Following the achievements of 2015, Eugene has clearly stated to me that Tinkerine needs to now become profitable to be able to grow to the next level. The monthly cash burn rate needs to decrease to a level of around $55-65K USD per month. The CFO was replaced in January 2016 by Justin Sy, one of the founders, and currently lead software developer. The tight team of passionate employees is aiming to sell 100 machines a month to become profitable. Eugene is cautiously optimistic on the capacity of the company to reach this target by the end of the year.

Tinkerine Expects to Strengthen its Board of Directors and Advisory Board

Eugene’s focus is also on further structuring of the company. He is currently looking to bring on two or three new advisors to help the company go deeper into the education market. Considering the limited cash resources available, the young CEO is planning to offer stock options to the right candidates. Eugene is also looking to recruit a new chairman to prepare the company for its future development.

Tinkerine Could be Raising Funds in 2016

At the end of September, 2015, cash available was just above $200K USD. Considering the expected seasonality of the business, with stronger 2nd and 3rd quarters, the company will need to raise $300-400K CAD in the next 6 months. Tinkerine could raise cash from its founders in the next 6 months. Eugene and his team are working hard to demonstrate that it can grow the business profitably. In his own words, as soon as Tinkerine has achieved this milestone, “everything will become another story, and an exciting one.” Let’s hope that Eugene manages to keep writing a beautiful story for its young passionate team of engineers, developers and marketers.