Tech Data Canada goes 3D with MakerBot deal

Manal Guirguis, director of product management at Tech Data Canada.

Manal Guirguis, director of product management at Tech Data Canada.

Tech Data Canada has entered the 3D printing market, as the distributor has signed a North America-wide distribution deal with Brooklyn, NY-based MakerBot, a producer of desktop 3D printers.

It’s the first foray into the rapidly expanding markets for 3D printing – one which is poised to double every year for the next few years – for Tech Data Canada, and comes as MakerBot is expanding beyond its direct and retail history to embrace a broader channel community.

“MakerBot is our first 3D product line, and offers us a very unique solution into the engineering vertical,” said Manal Guirguis, director of product management at Tech Data Canada.

The distributor will initially seek out resellers with engineering backgrounds, particularly those that have been reselling Autocad and Autodesk products as it looks to build a broader channel for the 3D printing products, especially with architects and designers. Beyond those initial verticals, Guirguis said Tech Data sees opportunity in the education market. The printer vendor currently has an initiative to get at least one of its products into every school in the U.S., and a similar thrust in Canada could really spell a growth opportunity for education-focused solution providers, she suggested.

“We’re looking for resellers to find a number of vertical to sell into,” she said.

MakerBot requires authorization to sell its products, and Guirguis said the distributor is poised to help resellers get the training and certification needed to attain authorization. Tech Data Canada’s own sales staff have been trained up on the company’s wares, she added.

Guirguis said the company plans on having a MakerBot printer, and related and hardware and software up and running in the Advanced Technology Solutions Centre (ATSC) at its Mississauga, Ont. headquarters within the next month.

“It’s a matter of choosing the right product, the right applications, and getting it set up,” she said.

The new relationship comes as MakerBot seeks to grow its presence in the channel. Initially focused on its own Web site and a trio of company-branded retail stores in the U.S. northeast, it has added Microsoft’s retail stores in the U.S. to its channel, and now is looking to expand into the more value-added reseller community. In March, the company introduced Jennifer Harmon, who had previously led Ingram Micro Canada’s physical security business, as its first account executive in Canada, focused on building out the channel in this country.

Guirguis said the company has “a good base” of authorized resellers already in Canada, but that Tech Data will be focused on growing those ranks.