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Markforged CEO on SPAC debut, future of 3D printing

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On Thursday, 3D printing company Markforged went public on the NYSE. Shai Terem, Markforged CEO, joins Yahoo Finance Live to weigh in on the company’s public debut, future growth plans and supply chain challenges amid the pandemic.

Video Transcript

[MUSIC PLAYING]

ZACK GUZMAN: Welcome back to Yahoo Finance Live. We've got another day, another SPAC deal, this time for 3D printing company a Markforged, already now trading down there after they rang the bell at the New York Stock Exchange. You can see their shares off a bit, down to about $7.75 a share.

The company counts some pretty big customers among their ranks, including Tesla, GM, Gillette, Blue Origin, and NASA, among some other larger companies as well. And for more on that, I want to bring on the CEO of Markforged. Shai Terem joins us right now from the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.

And Shai, I appreciate you taking the time. Congrats on the debut. I mean, when you look at this company, talk to me about the growth that you've seen to get here. Because you're raking in, what, more than $360 million in proceeds from this deal. What are you looking to put that toward?

SHAI TEREM: So we will continue to push on our product development with this profit. We already almost doubled our engineering team over the last few months. And the intention is to take it even to the next level, which will enable us to make sure that we deliver our customers almost every year a new product, and with that, we can increase the adoption of our solution on the manufacturing floor.

- You've got some big-name companies that you're working with, some that Zack already alluded to, including Tesla as well as GM, Blue Origin as we look ahead to the launch on Tuesday. Walk me through the case here for companies to be working with you versus sort of sourcing through the traditional routes. Does it accelerate the process to go through 3D printing?

SHAI TEREM: Yes, so I think most of our customers are using us to, let's say, take traditional manufacturing to the next phase. I would say there are two megatrends that are happening in the manufacturing world. The first one is that everyone is looking for something which is better than metal. If it's stronger, lighter, no corrosion, easier to fabricate, and this is where advanced composites goes into play.

So, for example, in aerospace, the Dreamliner, 50% of it, of the body frame, is already advanced composite. In automotive world, electric vehicles, BMW i3 and i8, the body frame is completely advanced composites. And Markforged is by far one of the leaders in advanced composite in the additive manufacturing world.

The second very large trend is how we all get over these limitations of the global supply chains. So we can all feel the pains these days. When you try to buy a car, you try to buy a sofa, it doesn't matter what it is. There's no parts. There's no inventory. And most of our customers use us on the manufacturing floor to bring parts on demand to making sure that the production [INAUDIBLE] will keep on going, just to try to ship these parts from the other side of the world and get stuck somewhere on the way.

ZACK GUZMAN: I have to-- I have to correct. And I said you rang the opening bell. I know you're going to be ringing the closing bell, which to some out there, myself included, might be a little bit more important.

But when we look at the growth ahead, it's interesting because the way that investors have reacted to 3D printing, Desktop Metal one of those competitors out there, off by about 40% year to date, I mean, when you look at the growth of the 3D printing space specifically, I mean, what are some of those headwinds that maybe is preventing larger growth?

And you think about the way that some of these customers out there want to use your technology. What are maybe those hurdles that you still need to overcome?

SHAI TEREM: Yeah. I would say the biggest hurdle is traditional manufacturing. I would say most of the decision makers on the manufacturing floor have 20, 30 years of experience, which means that they not grew up with the additive state of mind. We do see it changing over time, and the new generation of engineers that's going out to produce all the products that we consume eventually are growing with additive in their state of mind from the high school to colleges, et cetera.

So we can see great examples like Frito-Lay, in which fairly young engineers were able to solve a big problem to Frito-Lay, and they started with one manufacturing floor with our solution and ended up with 35, which means all the manufacturing facilities in the Americas have the Digital Forge, our solution, in order to optimize their production line and making sure that we can all have our chips on time.

- Shai, you just alluded to the bump your business has gotten on the back of these supply chain shortages, the roadblocks that we've seen, whether it's the ports being backed up or whether it's about the chips. When you look across the sectors that you work with, where are you seeing the biggest demand as a result of the shortages? Is it an autos? Is it in aerospace? What do you see?

SHAI TEREM: I would say now it's across the board. So everyone feels it. If it's a software manufacturer, aerospace, automotive, you can see shortages all over. And we feel it as well, by the way. When we produce our machines, we also feel this shortage. We got to a level that some of the parts in our solution being printed by the printer that's actually being sold after, which is extremely unique. But this is the case, and this is how we really use our solution to solve this problem of limited or very problematic supply chains.

ZACK GUZMAN: Well, your day down there at the New York Stock Exchange not over yet. I know you've got to run, but good luck with the closing bell out there, and congrats again on the debut. Shai Terem, Markforged CEO, congrats again.