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The Launch of Premium Case Study 02 – Pirate3D

Company Overview

Pirate3D is a 3D printer manufacturer. Its 3D printer, the Buccaneer, was intended to be a user-friendly consumer printer and was listed as the most successful Fused Filament Fabrication project on Kickstarter (US) in 2013.

  • Description: 3D printing, Fused Filament Fabrication, Product Design, and Mechatronics
  • Category: 3D printing, 3D technology, Consumer Electronics, Robotics
  • Country: Singapore
  • Period: 2012–2015
  • Size of the company: 11–5
  • Number of funding rounds: 3
  • Number of investors: 1
  • Total amount raised: USD 3.9 million (USD 1.4 million from Kickstarter)

The Beginning

Brendan Goh and Tsang You Jun, both Materials Science undergraduates at Nanyang Technology University (NTU), met through a school assignment in which they had trouble assembling and getting a 3D printer to work. After meeting Roger Chang, a 3D printing enthusiast and business undergraduate from the National University of Singapore, the trio intended to start a 3D printing service. However, they were later advised by Neo Kok Beng, an adjunct associate professor at NUS Business School to design a 3D printer instead.

The Failure Points

So, what went wrong with Pirate3D?

  • Failure Point #1: The Failure to Manage the Value Chain
  • Failure Point #2: Over-reliance on Kickstarter
  • Failure Point #3: Failure to Understand End-To-End Processes in Software and Hardware Development
  • Failure Point #4: Error in Product Pricing

The Startups Failure Checklist

Pirate3D achieved more than 14 times its Kickstarter campaign target of USD 100,000 with USD 1.4 million raised. Refer to the checklist summary of failure points and what can you do about it below:

  1. Delegate the main responsibilities and support
  2. Start small and celebrate small wins mentality

What’s next?

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