Investing in 3D Printing Stocks

Invest in 3D printer stocksPlease check out our new 3D Printing Investment Guide for 2013.

Woulda, could, shoulda…. Think back on all the companies whose technology or products you just knew were going to make it in the marketplace. You might have even used the companies’ products yourself. Darnit, if you’d only bought the stock, right? You may have owned an Apple computer way back when, but didn’t buy the stock then. You saw Software As A Service (SAAS) companies like Salesforce.com flourishing, but didn’t invest — then Cloud Computing became the buzzword of the year. What about Amazon — did you buy Amazon back in the day when the stock was in the single digits? We all have regrets like this.

But if you are the type of person who is able to understand where technology is headed, if you seem to “get things” more quickly than others, you should consider investing in what your gut is telling you about the future (of course, do your due diligence on the company). If you can pick the leaders in emerging technologies, you can profit handsomely. But it takes guts to do this, because to get in early means you are going against the crowd who doesn’t see what you see.

Investing in 3D Printing

So here we are in 2011, with sundry technologies converging in a manner that will propel 3D printing into the revolutionary status futurists have long envisioned. Commercial 3D printers for prototyping and production, 3D office printers for rapid design, sub-$1,500 3D printers for hobbyists, 3D printer services for users with 3D modeling tools but no 3D printer…from the expensive industrial level 3D printer to the the DIY 3D printer, it’s a disruptive technology so huge it will change the world before we know it.

But the interesting thing is that so few people know anything about 3D printing. When I mention it, I almost always hear, “what’s that?” That, my friend, spells opportunity.

We have the opportunity to invest in some of the companies that are a part of the 3D printing disruption of traditional manufacturing. But, invest where? If you are a venture capital company, you can invest in many new companies before they even get off the ground. But the rest of us don’t have that opportunity, nor do most of us have the net worth to handle the risk exposure of such young companies. So that leaves us with publicly traded companies. Unfortunately, there are few public companies that are pure plays on 3D printing. Still, we have some great choices. Let’s take a look at them.

Publicly-traded 3D Printer Manufacturers

Of all the great companies out there we read about that make 3D printers, I have only found two that are public. If you have been reading anything at all about 3D technology, you have doubtless heard of them. Explaining what each company does, specifically, is too much for this article, so please visit their websites for more information:

Stratasys (SSYS)

stratasys stock investStratasys, Inc., Minneapolis, is a maker of additive manufacturing machines for prototyping and producing plastic parts. The company markets under the brands Dimension 3D Printers and Fortus Production 3D Printers. The company also operates RedEye On Demand, a digital manufacturing service for prototypes and production parts. In 2011 Stratasys acquired 3D printer maker, Solidscape, Inc. According to Wohlers Report 2011, Stratasys had a 41 percent market share in 2010, and has been the unit market leader for the ninth consecutive year. Stratasys patented and owns the Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM®) process. The process creates functional prototypes and manufactured goods directly from any 3D CAD program, using high-performance industrial thermoplastics. The company holds more than 285 granted or pending additive manufacturing patents globally. Stratasys products are used in the aerospace, defense, automotive, medical, business & industrial equipment, education, architecture, and consumer-product industries.

- pulled from Stratasys investor relations.

Update: On 4/16/12 Stratasys merged with Objet, another leading 3D printer maker, which was privately held at the time. This now makes Stratasys the largest 3D printer company in the world.

Website: www.stratasys.com

3D Systems (DDD)

invest 3d systems3D Systems is a leading provider of 3D content-to-print solutions including 3D printers, print materials, creative printable content development, curation and downloads and on-demand custom parts services for professionals and consumers alike. Its expertly integrated rapid prototyping and manufacturing solutions reduce the time and cost of designing new products and printing real parts directly from digital input. These solutions are used to design, communicate, prototype and produce functional end-use parts empowering our customers to create with confidence.

- pulled from 3D Systems investor relations.

Website: 3Dsystems.com

Publicly-traded 3D Modeling software companies for 3D printers

That was the physical 3D printing side of things. But there is also the whole design side. Every 3D printed object has to be designed and sent to the printer in a format it understands. Initially, there were only difficult-to-use, very complex Computer Aided Design (CAD) systems like AutoCAD. Then came Solidworks, the popular program that my daughter uses in her Biomedical Engineering major, and used by millions of 3D designers. As programming capabilities progressed and Moore’s Law continued to increase computer performance, incredible, lighter-weight 3D design software was developed. There are an enormous number of tools, some very expensive, some inexpensive and some open source.

The closest thing to a pure play investment in this area is Autodesk, which makes a number of 3D modeling programs. The other stock I’ve chosen, Dassault Systemes, is not a pure play, but it is the maker of the much used and highly-regarded Solidworks. This is a french company, but you can by it through an American Depository Receipt (ADR) at any brokerage. As for the rest of the company, it’s all 3D applications, just not necessarily 3D modeling for physical output.

Autodesk (ADSK)

invest Autodesk stockAutodesk, Inc., is a leader in 3D design, engineering and entertainment software. Customers across the manufacturing, architecture, building, construction, and media and entertainment industries — including the last 16 Academy Award winners for Best Visual Effects — use Autodesk software to design, visualize and simulate their ideas. Since its introduction of AutoCAD software in 1982, Autodesk continues to develop the broadest portfolio of state-of-the-art software for global markets.

- Pulled from Autodesk investor relations.

Website: Autodesk.com

Dassault Systemes (DASTY)

invest dassault systems stockAs a world leader in 3D and Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) solutions, Dassault Systèmes brings value to more than 130,000 customers in 80 countries. A pioneer in the 3D software market since 1981, Dassault Systèmes applications provide a 3D vision of the entire lifecycle of products from conception to maintenance to recycling. The Dassault Systèmes portfolio consists of CATIA for designing the virtual product – SolidWorks for 3D mechanical design – DELMIA for virtual production – SIMULIA for virtual testing – ENOVIA for global collaborative lifecycle management, EXALEAD for search-based applications and 3DVIA for online 3D lifelike experiences.

- Pulled from Dassualt Systemes investor relations

Website: 3DS.com

Disclaimer

I’m not a stock analyst or financial advisor and I won’t get into the PE ratios, earnings estimates and so forth of these companies. That’s for you or your investment advisor to research. I’m just here to let believers in 3D printer technology understand where they can invest if they are so inclined. For full disclosure, I also need to mention that I own shares in all four of the companies mentioned, and intend on purchasing more shares in one or more of them in the future.

Any others?

These are the biggest players I could find that are very involved in the 3D printing world, and are investable from within the United States. There may be others and I am very interested to hear about them if you have any to share. I am also interested in companies that might not be so obvious, but will benefit from the 3D printing revolution. Please use the comments section to let me know what ideas you might have.

It’s spellbinding enough to watch the technology take off, but it sure is a lot more fun if you can put your prescient knowledge to u)e and make some money while you are at it.)

UPDATE, 3/26/12: Bioprinting company, Organovo now public

After writing this article, I’ve discovered a newly public 3D bioprinting company named Organovo. Today we published an article on them entitled, Organovo: the Bioprinting Pioneer to Watch,

The market leader in bioprinting is Organovo Holdings. The San Diego, CA company was initially set up by a research group lead by Professor Gabor Forgacs from the University of Missouri, and was recently listed in the MIT Technology Review’s 2012 TR50 List of the World’s Most Innovative Companies. It’s speculative, and as of this writing last traded over-the-counter at $2.50 a share. (OTCQB: ONVO)

  • http://www.3dprinter.net Mark Fleming

    Stratasys reported earnings today and they beat expectations. Stock is up 16% since this morning’s open.

    • Vincent

      Really interesting. Do you think others are also on this increase ? I bet it will leapfrog as soon as it become available and accessible to the general public.

      • http://www.3dprinter.net mark

        Stratasys and 3D Systems are both growing.

  • http://www.motohowto.com Mike

    I wonder who makes the proverbial “ink” (materials) for this 3D Printers ?

    • http://www.3dprinter.net Mark Fleming

      The companies supply the materials for their own printers. The HP business model.

  • Janet Gaudiello

    Mark

    In order to pursue a future job in this industry, it appears that a course in CAD is not the way to go??

    What software or course of knowledge should someone wanting to work in the field look into?

  • Dany Gascon

    Hi everyone. I am from Montreal, I don’t have any knowledge in investment, never made one, but this looks like a good opportunity to invest. I am wondering how I can actually buy stocks of this new product. Anyone can help ?

    • http://www.3dprinter.net Mark Fleming

      Just use any broker and tell them the symbols that are listed above. I’d be careful of Dassault Systemes (DASTY) though because the stock is thinly traded (not much volume), and thus big buys or sells can make for big swings in the stock price. Plus, it’s not a pure play in 3D printing like DDD and SSYS.

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    • odie

      I found the company Dassault Syste’mes. Can you expound why Drug Oranovo is worth investing in and are they traded on market if not do you have contacts so I can invest in. Thank You So Much. I believe its a great way to invest for my furture Im 52 and am looking ahead. God Bless and happy greetings this hoilday season. Odie

      • http://www.3dprinter.net mark

        @Odie:

        Here’s more on Organovo:

        http://www.3dprinter.net/organovo-the-bioprinting-pioneer-to-watch

        I can’t really give advice as to whether or not someone should purchase a particular stock. I can say that this is a very speculative (risky), small capitalization company. These types of $2 stock price companies are very risky, as they have yet to prove their business model financially. If you do invest in a company like this, it should be a very small part of your investment portfolio.

        You should go to the company’s website and do some research, and request a prospectus from them.

        I can tell you that I own shares of the company still, but not more than I can withstand if it goes belly up. I traded some of my original purchase when it ran up on speculation, and then purchased some more back in the $2-3 range (approximately).

        Dassault is a more mature company and does not carry the same level of risk as does Organovo.

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  • Stephen

    I take it a “pure play” means “a more sure return on one’s investment and less risk?

    • http://www.3dprinter.net mark

      No, a “pure play” means that the company only does the one thing. In this case, 3D printers. Alternatively, let’s say DELL started selling 3D printers; that would not be a pure play as they are not “purely” 3D printer makers. So, if you believe in 3D printing, a pure play stock will participate in the growth of the technology more.

  • http://[email protected] Fred

    hi, fascinating 3D printing… are there any suggestions in companies that trade on the HK stock exchange?

    Thanks in advance.

    Fred

  • Josh

    Nice work with ONVO – Just thought about this sector becoming wildly popular in the not too distant future this weekend, stumbled on your website.. Saw how ONVO did on friday and what the price is up to… Whew! I hope you got in down around 2.5 and are still holding strong!

    Thanks for doing all this research and leg work.. you’ve laid a very good foundation for me and I’m excited to learn more about these companies and start investing & hopefully making money with them :)

    Josh

    • http://www.3dprinter.net mark

      Still holding.

      • Josh

        As the intelligent investor would.

  • http://www.3dprinter.net mark

    FYI: I have been taking profit in some shares of ONVO, which has been skyrocketing. It’s a speculative stock and should be treated as such.

    Bought 7,000 shares back in March in the two buck range.

    Sold 2,000 on 6/11/12 at $5.02
    Sold 2,000 on 6/18/12 at $8.78

    Holding 3,000 more.

    Holding DDD, SSYS, ADSK for the long term.

    • http://www.3dprinter.net mark

      If you’ve seen today’s Organovo stock price (down about 60% today to around $4 (market not yet closed), you see why I sold 4,000 of my 7,000 shares on 6/11/12 and 6/18/12. One they very small-float, speculative companies that are not yet profitable, that get a lot of hype, you cannot be a pig and you take money off the table. I’ve got 3,000 shares riding on it still, that I bought at about half of today’s current price, and I’ll hold them. If it drops to the $2-3 range, I might pick up more.

      Today’s slamming of Organovo stock seems to be attributable to an article on Seeking Alpha website that said the stock will drop to $3. That caused enough of the momentum traders to get out, and with so few shares outstanding, the stock price dropped like a rock (supply and demand).

      People need to understand that Seeking Alpha “feels” like it is offering professional advice. But it is nothing more than a collection of authors (any can be one, you can too) that post up articles. That’s all. So, the article is meaningless, although I’m not discounting what he had to say.

      So, is the stock worth $4 or $10 or more? No one can say. The company makes no profit and will not for some time. Buy only as a speculative trade, unless you feel that Organovo will be bought out one day (and it very well may be), but it will be a bumpy ride until then.

    • http://www.3dprinter.net mark

      Added 2,000 ONVO at $3.45.

      • blondie

        OK I want to invest in this I have since i heard about it. Can u give me a website I can buy this stock I have never done anything like this and I am such a goober so I need details to do this please help me.

  • http://www.kraftwurx.com chris Norman

    The Jobs act allows changes to the way small startups can raise money. Beginning in 2013, small businesses can sell unlicensed securities up to $1 Million annually without registering with the SEC. The better part, you can do so without having to raise the money through accredited investors. There are a few restrictions but its a bug change.

    Kraftwurx announced earlier this year that we will take advantage of this change in law by offering stock in our company.

    Are we a good bet? You’ll have to ask about our current investor pool and explore our yet to be disclosed tech under an NDA to find out. One thing we can share….the USPTO has made an allowance for our first of 5 patents.

  • http://www.kraftwurx.com chris Norman

    Also: we have all the tech of the other guys and our books are clear, no debt. We are profitable and growing at 44% month over month.

  • Peter Donnelly

    Hi Mark, I’ve been looking into buying shares in Organovo but can’t find a stock broker that sells them, can you suggest any? I live in the UK by the way.

    Ps. Great website

    • http://www.3dprinter.net mark

      Sorry to hear you cannot buy ONVO in the UK. Being in the U.S., where you can purchase it any any broker, I’m not sure what to tell you about how to do it in the UK. Sorry.

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    • odie

      Do you believe Dassault Syste’mes and Drug Organ’ow are great investments for my furture Im 52. Thanks. Any advise on other companies. Thank You

  • odie

    IM looking for a company of 3D priting thats not publicly sold I cant spell it correctly but its something like this please help De sol’desims. Thank You Odie

    • http://www.3dprinter.net mark

      Sorry, don’t know that company.

    • Nancy F

      Dessault sustemes DASTY

  • bip t

    Ok wish i had read this article 3 yrs ago .Better late than never ,i want to buy DDD and SSYS today, however i am confused which one should i choose between ADSK ans DASTY?Advice please.

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  • Nick

    Any promising 3d Printing Penny Stocks out there right now?

    • http://www.3dprinter.net Mark Fleming

      Nothing II’ve seen that’s pure play that doesn’t feel scammy.

  • jerry

    Check out SOTK-makes nozels for the depositing/spraying materials

    • http://www.3dprinter.net Mark Fleming

      Yes, I actually own a bit of SOTK. A very small amount as it’s a real speculative play.

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