Is there a big return on investment ahead for Triangle entrepreneur and angel investor Scot Wingo coming from a fast-growing investment in his growing portfolio?
ZVerse is one of several startups that drew enough interest from the ecommerce services provider ChannelAdvisor (NYSE: ECOM) co-founder and chairman for him to write a check. On Wednesday, the 2D-to-3D conversion technology startup announced what he describes as a “huge win” – a reseller agreement with Konica Minolta.
But Wingo says developing a VC “unicorn” isn’t the vision. So what is?
We aren’t really chasing that unicorn silliness,” Wingo tells The Skinny, “but are focused on building a large profitable business and this deal is one of many steps to get there.”
Unicorns are the darlings of the venture capital world with valuations at $1 billion or more.
ZVerse, which is based in Columbia, S.C., is far from that kind of valuation. But CEO John Carrington told WRAL TechWire on Wednesday after the big deal announcement that ZVerse is already profitable and expects a six-fold increase in revenue this year.
Wingo became interested in the two-year-old venture very early.
“I invested about two years ago in an angel round and supported them in a Series A [round],” he notes. The A round drew $3.5 million.
Wingo also took a board seat, so his interest in ZVerse is keen.
“I invested because I am interested in the intersection of 3D printing and ecommerce,” he explains.
ZVerse technology enables customers to turn flat 2D images into 3D, which then can be cranked out on 3D printers.
Carrington and company are betting that a lot of people and businesses will want on-demand 3D items printed and bought. By allying with Konica Minolta, ZVerse landed one of the world’s top printing tech giants with more than $9 billion in annual revenues.
“This deal is a huge win for ZVerse as it gives them a massive distribution channel for their tech,” Wingo points out.
ZVerse lands access to a huge sales force, a company that already has thousands of business customers, and a reseller that can help users of ZVerse learn how to make that 2D-to-3D conversion.
For details about the partnership, see WTW’s post from Wednesday: