20. October 2016 ǀ Munich Ismaning
Sales support for 3D Start-up
How a high-tech start up in Vienna wants to revolutionize the 3D printer market and what maihiro is doing to help.
3D has long ceased being a magic word for professionals in development departments of manufacturing companies. Too many of the new, cheap printers promise more than they can deliver, which may be enough to print the family dog as a figurine for fun. But models accurate to within a tenth of a millimeter with finely smoothed surfaces or complicated structures with protrusions can only be provided by very expensive high-end systems.
User friendliness and quality at a reasonable price
This is precisely the gap in the market that Xioneer Systems, a startup founded in Vienna three years ago, wants to fill. Dr. Andrei Neboian and Dr. Robert Hein, who met while studying business administration at the WHU Otto Beisheim School of Management in Vallendar near Koblenz, were upset by the rather disappointing quality of the popular cheap devices. On the whole, they were inaccurate, the surfaces unsightly, there were too many shape limitations, and, above all, they were anything but user-friendly. As Neboian said: “Simply setting up the printer, threading the material through and getting everything prepared required laboriously going through a dozen manuals before even beginning.” And once started, it often had to be monitored manually. “For instance, you generally have to calculate for yourself if there will be enough material for what you are printing. We want to bring the user-friendliness we are used to with 2D printers into the 3D world.”
No sooner said than done. Thus, the Xioneer prototype, which is already ready and has already produced numerous parts for customer orders, also takes material cartridges like traditional paper printers. And it lets the user know when they are expected to run out. Above all, however, it prints smooth surfaces and accurately to within about a tenth of a millimeter, far more precise than the low-cost devices.
maihiro provides sales know-how
Higher return on investment and increased user-friendliness – that suits maihiro. It was only logical that the people from maihiro and Xioneer come together under maihiro’s Nina Besselink guidance. Because Neboian’s and Hein’s seven-person team has a lot of technical and logistics expertise. “But marketing and sales are not our core competencies, so we were happy to work with the experts at maihiro,” said Andrei Neboian.
The cooperation started back in December 2015 at a management consulting workshop where we put together the key sales and marketing elements: what will be offered with the main product and how the business will be organized. After all, the target group is scattered across Europe and the company is still small – how will we ensure maintenance and support? It quickly became apparent that maihiro’s CRM competence could also be useful to further develop Xioneer’s customer dialog. A key term here is the internet of things i.e. how the printer’s intelligence can be directly integrated into the service process and customer dialog.
It will be interesting to see the milestones that Xioneer has already met. Thereby filling a gap in the market that makes people wonder how no one thought of it before. Pretty good conditions for a startup. And a good reason for maihiro to do all it can to support it.