Navigating the Technical Stack — Ric Fulop, CEO Desktop Metal

Systems Leadership — April 23, 2015

Robert Siegel
May 1 · 4 min read

Understand Market Transitions

Fulop commented that additive manufacturing has been around for decades — the core idea and technology is not new. However, recent technological transitions are creating opportunities in multiple aspects of the market — from prototyping to high volume manufacturing of parts that were previously not possible to make with standard technologies. In times of transitions such as this, a company such as Desktop Metal has the ability to compete against large incumbents such as HP by bringing speed and new capabilities in ways that competitors are unable to do.

Business Models Vary By Market Segment

One particular insight Fulop shared which caught our attention was his view that the company’s business model needs to vary by market segment. In the prototyping market, Desktop Metal offers a complete wing-to-wing solution for customers: machines, ink, metal powders, support, etc. At the high-end, when Desktop Metal is selling to large enterprises, some of the company’s customers have direct relationships with metal suppliers and can thus manage that part of the value chain. Fulop highlighted that Desktop Metal has to be flexible enough to build solutions that can meet the needs of each customer segment — and they must do so simultaneously.

Customer Outcomes Are Defined by Knowing Your Customer

Fulop commented that one thing his company spends extensive time understanding is what their customers actually make on their machines. At its most base level, this allows Desktop Metal to be sure it is delivering a whole product that meets the goals of the people who purchase their equipment and services.

Fortitude Group

Musings on Digital and Physical, Teaching, Venture Capital and Socioeconomics

Robert Siegel

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Lecturer @StanfordGSB, Seed-stage VC @XSeedCapital, @Cal undergrad, hockey/soccer fan, husband and father

Fortitude Group

Musings on Digital and Physical, Teaching, Venture Capital and Socioeconomics