Shapeways to auction off $5 million worth of Desktop Metal hardware

3D printing service provider Shapeways is set to auction off $5 million of its hardware from industrial 3D printer manufacturer Desktop Metal

The online auction will feature a catalog of metal 3D printing equipment that Shapeways had previously been using in its service bureau offering. This hardware includes Desktop Metal P1 Production System 3D printers, Shop System binder jet 3D printers, BMD 3D printers, powder stations, powder blenders, sintering furnaces, and drying ovens. 

Heritage Global Partners (HGP) is hosting the auction, which will take place between 26-27 February. This is the second auction from Shapeways, with the company having already listed $4 million worth of Desktop Metal 3D printing technology at a HGP auction in October 2023.     

The Desktop Metal Shop System. Image via Desktop Metal.
The Desktop Metal Shop System 3D printer. Photo via Desktop Metal.

Shapeways’ $605M SPAC deal 

Founded as a spin-off of Phillips in 2007, Shapeways went public in 2021 via a merger with Special Purpose Acquisition Company (SPAC) Galileo Acquisition Corp (GLEO). This deal valued Shapeways at $410 million, and generated $195 million in net proceeds to the company, giving the enterprise a total equity value of $605 million.

Following the completion of the Shapeways SPAC deal, the company projected rapid annual growth of 95% between FY 2021 and FY 2022. The firm also expected to meet a pre-tax earnings target of $107 million by 2025, and projected a revenue of $150 million in FY 2023, rising to $250 million in FY 2024. 

This financial outlook seemed optimistic at the time, with Shapeways having only generated $31.8 million and $44 million in FY 2020 and FY 2021, respectively. What’s more, the company experienced a 5% YoY revenue decline between FY 2019 and FY 2020, and reported net losses of $7 million in 2019 and $3 million during 2020.  

However, Shapeways emphasized a firm belief in its growth potential, with a spokesperson telling 3D Printing Industry in 2021 that the company was “poised for tremendous growth and innovation.”   

The Shapeways team pointing at the firm's logo outside the NYSE.
The Shapeways team pointing at the firm’s logo outside the NYSE. Photo via Shapeways.

Has Shapeways met growth expectations?

In the years following Shapeways’ SPAC deal, It is clear that the Shapeways’ financial performance has not lived up to the hype.

In its latest Q3 2023 numbers from November 2023, Shapeways generated total revenue of just $8.4 million and $3.4 million in gross profit. Moreover, a net loss of $19.4 million was reported, up 198.5% from a loss of $6.5 million in Q3 2022.   

Contrary to the $150 million revenue projected in 2021, the company now expects FY 2023 revenue to come in at between $34.3 million and $35 million. At best, this represents a 76.7% decrease from the original expectations. In FY 2022, the company achieved total revenue of $33.2 million, and a net loss of $20.2 million.  

Shapeways’ share price hasn’t fared any better, falling from a high of $83.60 USD per share on 11 January 2021, to just $1.94 on February 2nd, 2024.  

As such, Shapeways is now actively pursuing a number of cost reduction measures, including a 15% reduction of Shapeways’ total global workforce. The company has also announced a reduction of new hires, and is cutting non-critical capital and discretionary operating expenses. 

It was also recently announced that Shapeways is working with advisors to consider “strategic alternatives.” This may include a merger, a business combination, a capital raise or other strategic transaction, and a sale of a material portion of the company’s assets. Shapeways’ latest $5 million technology auction represents the latter of these alternatives.    

Shapeways Factory Floor. Photo via Shapeways
Shapeways Factory Floor. Photo via Shapeways

Selling off 3D printing assets 

Shapeways is not the only company to announce a 3D printing hardware auction. Arevo announced the February 2024 auction of ABB IRB 4600 Robots, 3D Printers, SuperStrata Urban Bikes, Chillers, and IPG Diode Laser Modules. 

Arevo started life as a promising venture focusing on the sale of its AQUA 3D printers and the automated production of continuous carbon fiber composite structures. The company then shifted focus to the full-time production of its SuperStrata bikes. These bikes were advertised as being the “World’s first custom-fit, unibody bicycle frame 3D-printed in continuous carbon fiber composite.” 

Arevo Bike sales began in 2020. Despite raising $70 million in B Bridge, B1, B2, C, and crowdfunding, Arevo has now ceased operations, fulfilling 96% of its crowdfunded bike orders. 

Elsewhere, in December 2022 it was announced that the assets of bankrupt 3D printing bureau Fast Radius would be purchased by product design and manufacturing service provider SyBridge Technologies.   

Established in 2017, Fast Radius agreed to a $1.4 billion merger with SPAC ECP Environmental Growth Opportunities in July 2021. Following the deal, which valued the combined firm at $995 million, setting a revenue target of $635 million by 2025. 

However, Fast Radius filed for bankruptcy just 16 months later, citing “turbulence in the capital markets which severely hampered the company’s ability to set up the required capital structure.” SyBridge subsequently acquired most of Fast Radius’ 3D printing assets in a deal worth around $15.9 million.          

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Featured image shows a Shapeways sign from inside its New York warehouse. Photo via Gizmodo.