Zortrax, a leader in Poland’s 3D printing market, has announced that its founder and CEO has been awarded the title of EY’s Entrepreneur of the Year in the “New Business” category. The contest, organized by consulting firm EY, and its awards – often called the business Oscars – are seen as a prestigious distinction for entrepreneurs in Poland.
Rafał Tomasiak is Zortrax’s founder and CEO. His idea for the company started back in 2011. Together with Marcin Olchanowski, the duo had decided to create a 3D printer which wasn’t available on the market at that time – a device that will be easy to use and quick to set up whilst simultaneously being reliable and ensuring high quality print-outs.
The jury responsible for selecting a winner in the “New Business” category made its decision based on criteria such as: entrepreneurship, a company’s vision and strategy for development, pursuit and achievement of business objectives, financial results which demonstrate stable long-term growth, export significance and foreign market presence as part of a business’s core operations, innovative use of modern technologies in core business activities, effort put into developing local communities and actively participating in them, as well as several other categories. A necessary condition to compete for this award was a presence on Poland’s market for a period between two to five years.
“When I first began to take an interest in 3D printing technology, the equipment which was available was mainly meant for printing on a large industrial scale. Or the devices were sold as numerous components which would have to be put together and tediously calibrated. The market had nothing to offer individual professionals or small and medium sized businesses; an audience which increasingly required reliable tools but did not have the time nor the capabilities to construct their own device.” – says Tomasiak.
Zortrax had gathered the necessary resources to begin production of its M200 3D printer by running an online campaign on the crowdfunding website Kickstarter.com. That year, in 2013, the company managed to obtain $180,000 dollars. This happened to be the first successful Polish kickstarter campaign ever and drew the attention of 3D printer users from around the world, allowing the company to better understand their expectations.
“From the very beginning, Zortrax had been an undertaking which targeted an international audience. This was the result of market circumstances at the time. It quickly became clear that 3D printing technology had numerous possibilities in which it could be professionally utilized. Thus, our potential customer base became much larger, especially in Western Europe and the US rather than in Poland. We are, however, trying to develop our domestic 3D printing market by running educational and brand-related activities.” – stated Zortrax’s chairman.
The company’s first printer, the Zortrax M200, was an international success. The device received praise from countless users in addition to being acknowledged and awarded during many major international contests. The 3D printer was twice declared the best Plug & Play device by 3Dhubs.com – the world’s largest online community of 3D printer users.
Under Rafał Tomasiak’s leadership, Zortrax is expanding from a financial point of view as well. In the first quarter of 2014, the company raised $2,000,000 by issuing its bonds. Then, in May 2015, Zortrax presented yet another 3D printer – Inventure – which is currently being made available for purchase. The following month, Zortrax underwent a transformation from a limited liability company into a joint stock company. As part of a pre-IPO, it sold its shares for approx. $1.5 million. Zortrax has planned an IPO between the first and second quarters of 2016. Furthermore, the company will continue to present additional printer models and technological solutions from its R&D department. Apart from 3D printers, Zortrax develops and manufactures 3D printing materials (with various properties available in a wide range of colors) and provides software for their machines. It has managed to create a complete 3D printing solution which guarantees ease of use and reliability.
Zortrax currently employs 55 people in Poland and just over 120 abroad. The Olsztyn-based company had achieved 12.5 million PLN in revenue in 2014, and net profit amounted to 2.8 million PLN. In comparison, net profit rose by 67% during the first quarter of 2015 when compared to the same quarter last year – 1.9 million PLN. The company exports up to 80% of its products; they are sold in 53 countries around the world in cooperation with 123 resellers.
“This award, which I have received today, is a distinction not only for me but for the whole team – a great deal of hard work has been put into making Zortrax a success.” – said Rafał Tomasiak. “In just a short matter of time, Zortrax went from being a technological startup to becoming an international company operating on a global scale – such an endeavor required incredible effort. Let me assure you that our ambitions don’t end here; in the next two years we want to be one of the top three largest companies in the 3D printing industry in the world”.
About EY’s Entrepreneur of the Year
EY’s Entrepreneur of the Year is the only international initiative of such magnitude aimed at promoting the world’s best entrepreneurs. Since 1986, EY has organized the contest in 60 countries around the world. The contest was first held in Poland in 2003. Since then, the initiative is based around a common idea of promoting impressive achievements amongst Polish entrepreneurs. This community includes owners of Poland’s leading companies and key figures in the business world. This is an ever-growing community which offers new participants an unprecedented opportunity to build business relationships.
The nonpartisan jury, independent of EY, decides on each year’s best entrepreneurs taking into account such aspects as: entrepreneurship, business strategy, international operations, innovation and employer-employee relationships. Such criteria – identical in all countries – give entrepreneurs from around the world an equal chance when competing against one another. After all, EY’s Entrepreneur of the Year is, in fact, an initiative designed to distinguish a single person – an entrepreneur, a visionary, a leader – not his entire company.
A description of the contest is available at: https://przedsiebiorcaroku.pl/o-konkursie/#opis-konkursu. Additional information on the contest’s rules, criteria for selecting candidates etc. can be found at: https://przedsiebiorcaroku.pl/.