3D Printshow Berlin

Interview with Ilja Laurs, Nextury Ventures

Interview with Ilja Laurs

Prior to the 3D Printshow in Berlin All3DP.com talked to some of the guest speakers in order to get insights into the 3D design and print industry of today and tomorrow.

Today’s interview guest was Ilja Laurs, Founder, Nextury Ventures.

„3D printing will have the largest impact on our lives“

Ilja Laurs, Nextury Ventures
Ilja Laurs, Nextury Ventures

Q: What is it that makes 3D design and printing start-ups interesting for investors?

A: 3D printing is the next $100 billion industry. Research analysts (e. g. Canalis) estimate the industry to reach $16b/y already in 3 years, by 2018. If I were to name one emerging industry that will have the largest impact on our lives, I’d name 3D printing.

Smart investing is first of all betting on the right industry as explosive value growth of the portfolio companies is only possible there, much less likely so in the established industries. As an investor, I would expect a dozen of $10 billion companies to rise in the 3D printing space in the next 5-7 years in various segments, from hardware to content and materials to digital consumer marketplaces. Nextury has made 3 investments in the 3D printing space (Toyze has been publicly announced, 2 more will be announced soon), so not only do I talk about the opportunity, but also bet my money on it.


Investment approach follows top-down principle

Q: When you consider investing in a start-up: What factors are most important to you (idea, product/service, market needs, founders, …)?

A: My personal investment approach follows a top-down principle:

First, I identify an emerging industry (like 3D printing) that will (not less than!) change the world.

Second, I identify specific business models that are likely to grow/exist once the technology explodes.

Third, I look for start-ups that operate in that specific niche (industry + business model) and try to predict who are most likely to win. Of course, I’m trying to evaluate multiple factors – from the team and their skills, motivation, ambitions, etc. to their “flavor” of the business model I’m after, etc.

Finally, if there’s an opportunity to invest and the start-up sees value in our investment, we invest.

The next big thing

Q: What do you think will be the next big thing in 3D design and printing?

A: If I were to name one specific 3D printing vertical, I’d say toys. And this is not because Nextury has invested in Toyze (totally the opposite, we invested in Toyze because we were after 3D printing/games/marketplace niche), but because I firmly believe it will be the single largest content category driving home 3D printing. Just to illustrate how big toys are, look for the revenue split for a franchise like Star Wars. The franchise has earned to date $27 billion, of which $12 billion were toy sales and only $4 billion (3 times less!) box office sales. Just to give the huge $12b number a perspective, all 4 seasons of Clone Wars generated $4.5 million or nearly …..3000(!) times less than toy sales. (all Star Wars data by Statistics Brain based Forbes/Lucasfilms figures). Now imagine every kid can print Superman, Mickey Mouse and Angry Bird figures right at home all day long J

Profile: Ilja Laurs

Ilja Laurs’ industry accolades include: European Manager of the Year 2011 (European Business Press Association), Top 25 European Tech Leaders (Wall Street Journal), Top 40 most influential people in mobile communications (Informa Telecoms & Media). As a recognized thought leader, Ilja is in regular demand at all major telecommunication and a number of noteworthy technological conferences.