Grist invests in 3D printers

03/12/2015 - 15:39

As part of a backdoor listing with Falcon Minerals, prominent technology investor Anthony Grist has paid $US1.5 million to become a major shareholder in a US-based company that has experienced rapid growth selling 3D printers.

Anthony Grist. Photo: Attila Csaszar

As part of a backdoor listing with Falcon Minerals, prominent technology investor Anthony Grist has paid $US1.5 million to become a major shareholder in a US-based company that has experienced rapid growth selling 3D printers.

In a deal announced today, ASX-listed Falcon Minerals will acquire 100 per cent Albion 3D Investments, a special purpose vehicle controlled by Mr Grist to fund US-based 3D printer manufacturer Robo3D.

When completed, Falcon will change its name to i3D Technologies and have secured the right to acquire 51 per cent of Robo3D through its total acquisition of Albion 3D Investments.

Mr Grist, who is the deputy chairman of Vocus Communications and former chairman of Amcom Telecommunications, told Business News the deal would give him a 19.5 per cent share in the new 3D printer-focused company.

He started privately funding the company behind Robo3D printers more than 12 months ago after meeting Australian expats, including US-based marketing firm Crowd & Company chief executive Dan Koziol.

 Photo: Students at a US school using the Robo3D printer

Mr Koziol, who will be appointed joint chief executive of Robo3D, encouraged Mr Grist to provide early stage funding for the 3D printers, whose sales went on to generate revenue of $US1.9 million during the first nine months of this year.

The printers sell for about $US900 and Australians can currently buy them from online retailers Amazon and Best Buy, although Mr Grist said Australians would soon be able to buy them in stores here.

Mr Grist said Falcon approached him after finding out about his involvement with the strongly-performed tech venture.

“They said we’d like to consider a transaction where we buy your business, essentially backdoor your funding vehicle into the public company,” he said.

The formal transaction does not include any plans for Mr Grist to get involved in the day to day operations of i3D Technologies, although he said he would be available for advice if called upon.

Mr Grist told Business News he was also investigating half a dozen other tech ventures, two based in Australia, two in the US and two in Europe.

He will also take a small stake when ASX-listed Fitzroy Resources takes over US-based memory technology company 4D-S.

He said a long-term investment in FourDS would leave him with about a 5 per cent shareholding once the off market scrip takeover is completed later this year, resulting in Fitzroy being renamed 4DS Memory.

Falcon Minerals shares were up 34.8 per cent today trading at 3.1 cents at 3.28pm WST, following the Albion 3D Investments acquisition announcement. 

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