How a Kickstarter campaign raised $3 million for a printer: exclusive interview with Kevin Wang, CMO of ELEGOO at Formnext 2023

When it comes to “this technology is going to change the world” headlines, Generative AI has won 2023. That includes, with James O’Malley writing a piece on how ChatGPT would change the world back in April (he wrote a similar piece in which he warns not to discard the Metaverse just yet, but I’m not so sure about that anymore).

Kevin Wang Co-Founder & CMO ELEGOO
Kevin Wang Co-Founder & CMO at ELEGOO

Ten years ago, though, it was 3D printing that would change the world. Harvard Business Review literally wrote an article with that headline. While in the years since the media has somewhat cooled on the technology, don’t let that fool you. 3D printing continues to be full of potential and IS changing the world — it’s just not on the front page as much anymore.

Last week in Frankfurt, though, 3D printing once again took centre stage. At Formnext 23, a four-day event dedicated to “additive manufacturing” (a term increasingly interchangeable with 3D printing), 840 exhibitors and 30,000 visitors gathered to review the latest technological developments in the field.

Among the exhibitors was ELEGOO. The Shenzhen-based manufacturer caught our attention with a Kickstarter campaign for a new 3D printer called OrangeStorm Giga that aimed to raise US$100,000 and has since raised more than US$3M.

So we caught up with Kevin Wang, the Co-Founder and CMO of ELEGOO and asked him a few questions about the company, Kickstarter and what lies ahead. Here’s his interview.

The OrangeStorm Giga set a Kickstarter target of US$100,000 but raised more than US$3M in a matter of days. What can explain this level of interest?

Yes, we’re super excited to see the OrangeStorm Giga Kickstarter program secured over US$3M right now. And we believe the unique features the OrangeStorm Giga could offer have secured such a level of interest. With a build volume of 800mm x 800mm x 1,000mm and multi-nozzle printing, these have attracted a large number of potential backers who were excited about it.

Kickstarter Campaign for 3D Printer raises $3M

Also, we offer competitive pricing, with the early bird option at US$1,250 for the first 100 backers and a special offer at US$1,500 for other backers. Compared to higher-priced industrial 3D printers, this is more accessible to a wider range of consumers, including individuals and small businesses in design, fashion, production and other industries.

Established in 2015, ELEGOO has already established a loyal customer base through our previous products including LCD, FDM 3D printers and laser engravers. We are always dedicated to providing excellent customer support and user experience, offering comprehensive documentation, troubleshooting guides, online forums and responsive customer service channels. This managed our customers’ satisfaction, which might also encourage them to support our new project, leading to a surge in interest and funding.

What made you launch a Kickstarter campaign?

Actually, this is not our first time launching a Kickstarter campaign. Dating back to April this year, we also launched the Kickstarter campaign for our first laser engraving machine – PHECDA. This machine is expected to become a game-changer with its affordable price and exceptional features, including a unique air purifier function that filters harmful particles, making it the first-ever laser engraving machine with this functionality. As of Oct 17, this campaign has attracted 5,500 backers and raised US$2.8M.

The previous success of the PHECDA campaign demonstrated the effectiveness of Kickstarter as a platform for us. It has provided positive validation that the products resonate well with the Kickstarter community. Meanwhile, Kickstarter is known for attracting a community of early adopters and tech enthusiasts who are eager to support innovative and unique products. By launching on Kickstarter again, we can tap into this community and showcase our cutting-edge features. Kickstarter provides a platform to introduce and promote such innovative features to the receptive audience we aim to target. And, launching Kickstarter campaign is also popular among the industry of 3D printing solutions.

Leveraging the benefits of a crowdfunding model where backers can pledge funds towards a project in exchange for early access to the product or other rewards, we can secure funding to support the production and development of the new product, while also allowing interested customers to pre-order and be among the first to receive the product once it’s available.

What is it that distinguishes the OrangeStorm Giga from its closest competitors?

Packed with a whole host of cutting-edge features, the OrangeStorm Giga offers boasts impressive breakthroughs in build volume, printing technologies and design, delivering a best-in-class user experience at a more affordable range while still providing industrial-grade features and capabilities.

The OrangeStorm Giga incorporates advanced technological features that set it apart from its competitors. In the upgraded Multi-Nozzle Printing, three additional printheads can be added to the X-axis to realise simultaneous printing with four nozzles, supporting printing four of the same model, while each nozzle can be equipped with the same material and different colour filament to achieve four different coloured models of the same kind.

The product also offers a larger build volume, allowing users to create larger and more complex models in a single print. It can provide a significant advantage in terms of the size and scale of objects that can be produced, making it suitable for applications that require large-scale prototypes or production parts.

What can the OrangeStorm Giga accomplish that previous models couldn’t?

As our first ever industrial FDM 3D printer, the size matters! The OrangeStorm Giga enjoys a larger build volume of 800mm x 800mm x 1,000mm. Designed for creative souls who demand ample space to bring their wildest ideas to life, users can craft large prototypes, and intricate designs, or explore endless possibilities.

Also, the OrangeStorm Giga supports multi-nozzle printing, allowing up to four nozzles to work simultaneously. Users can print four identical models or experiment with different colours. Compared to our previous models (consumer-grade 3D printers), users are no longer confined to single-colour projects.

What are the main industries or verticals interested in it?

According to our observations of the industries and the feedback we gained from customers, the OrangeStorm Giga will be welcomed by artists, sculptors and designers who need to realise their creative visions on a larger scale. It could facilitate the production of sculptures, installations, and other artistic works with intricate details and unique shapes. And some production houses/companies, especially in the entertainment and props industry, will find this useful.

In addition, small business owners in various industries who will require large-scale and fast printing speed for manufacturing and prototyping will also benefit from its ability.

When will you start shipping it and what markets will it be available in?

The earliest available date, especially for the backers on Kickstarter would start from April 2024.

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Ricardo Oliveira

Ricardo Oliveira is a Senior Director of Digital Operations at Engage Media Group. He frequently collaborates with TechFinitive's editorial team to create reports, industry analysis and custom content across a myriad of topics. He's based in Sydney, Australia.