Global domination of the consumer / prosumer 3D printing space certainly seems to be on the Stratasys agenda with the latest announcement from its subsidiary MakerBot, which reports the expansion of its international operations with the launch of MakerBot Europe, based out of Stuttgart in Germany. The company believes this is ‘a major step in leading the desktop 3D printing industry not only in the United States, but in practically every major European country,’ according to a press release put out this morning.
This expansion initiative will see MakerBot acquiring “certain assets” (not disclosed) of its Germany-based partner, HAFNER’S BÜRO, which has been a MakerBot reseller in Germany for several years. Effective immediately, MakerBot Europe — with its own German website, replicating the original — will continue to manage the large network of MakerBot resellers throughout Central and Eastern Europe. MakerBot’s current resellers will transition into working with MakerBot Europe, and the new organization will be led by Alexander Hafner, who will be general manager of the new division. Hafner has been owner and president of HAFNER’S BÜRO since its founding in 1988.
“We are so excited to officially launch MakerBot Europe and expand MakerBot’s global reach with the creation of MakerBot Europe,” commented Jenny Lawton, President of MakerBot and based at the global HQ in Brooklyn, NYC. “Alexander Hafner and HAFNER’S BÜRO are longtime MakerBot partners and have extensive knowledge of our products, 3D printing and design solutions, and the European market. We are thrilled that they will play a larger role in the MakerBot family and will represent the company with our European distributors and resellers.”
HAFNER’S BÜRO has extensive relationships with key MakerBot customers, resellers and events throughout Europe, which would go some way to explain this choice for setting up a European HQ. Frank Alfano, chief revenue officer at MakerBot, further added: “The creation of a MakerBot Europe office demonstrates MakerBot’s commitment to the European market and helps align our overall business growth strategy in the region. Germany has also long been the European hub for 3D printing as overall interest in 3D printing has grown throughout Europe. We have confidence that the area will continue to grow in dominance in the 3D printing arena.”
Few will argue that Europe has a significant influence when it comes to the desktop 3D printing industry — Germany, however, is largely, and most recognizably, associated with the industrial side of the industry. It is Germany’s small neighbour — the Netherlands — that has the most concentrated hub and stellar reputation when it comes to the consumer / prosumer 3D printing industry in Europe. It is also the home nation of MakerBot’s competitors.
Alexander Hafner, general manager of the new MakerBot Europe office does not see this as an issue and welcomes the focus on Europe: “MakerBot Europe is committing itself to Europe as one of MakerBot’s most important markets for 3D printing. We are very proud to be MakerBot’s partner of choice for this exciting step. I think it is a unique opportunity in both of our companies’ histories. We are excited to be able to take our 3D printing experience and years of working with MakerBot to expand that knowledge throughout Europe. We are firm believers in MakerBot desktop 3D printing and scanning technology and look forward to working with the extensive network of MakerBot resellers in Europe.”
MakerBot believes that the acquisition of certain assets of HAFNER’S BÜRO is a major step in securing a strong foothold in the European market for MakerBot. While the European market has always been robust for MakerBot, and MakerBot is a global leader in the desktop 3D printing industry, the company has traditionally focused its sales and marketing efforts in the United States. Now, with the creation of MakerBot Europe, it will be able to expand its reach in many countries.
MakerBot Europe will encompass Austria, Belgium, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, the United Kingdom and other European countries. Existing MakerBot distributors and resellers will continue to run their businesses as usual and are expected to start to be assimilated into MakerBot Europe’s sales and marketing organization within a six-month time frame. During that time, MakerBot Europe will also be expanding the company’s reach and looking for additional strategic partnerships with resellers and key retailers that can help expand MakerBot’s penetration in the European market.