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Avi Reichental’s Jewish mother wanted him to be a rabbi. While he didn’t take that particular path, during a long career in tech – prayer has certainly come in handy.
Now the leader of XponentialWorks, a combination of venture fund, advisory firm and product developer, the 3D printing industry veteran has seen it all, from widespread doubt about technology, to frenzied investment, and back to more realistic expectations. But when Reichental started at 3D Systems, the company he led for 12 years, he asked for a benediction.
“I came from Sealed Air, we virtually printed cash,” Reichental, who is affable and chatty throughout our long interview, said. “The same could not be said for 3D Systems at the time. I had to kind of get down on my knees and beg many of our major suppliers to give me time, a new experience for me,” he tells me.
In a move that no doubt would have amused his mother, he also asked for a miracle. 3D Systems needed to raise a capital figure in the double digit millions almost immediately. “It was a fortune at the time, I decided to put half a million dollars of my own into the raise to show not just to my fellow employees, but to show to investors that as the newcomer, the new leader, I’m willing to put skin in the game at that level.”
Today, Reichental is one of the most well-known names in the 3D printing industry and while wary of Monday morning quarterback syndrome he is well placed to provide insight into the opportunities and challenges facing the additive manufacturing sector.
In this candid and in depth interview Reichental discusses the early days of the 3D printing industry, his thoughts about the current market and competitors, how to grow a 3D printing business and where the industry is heading.