Mar 14, 2016 | By Alec
If you want to get some idea on how quickly 3D printing is being adopted, it might be a good idea to look at how quickly new 3D printing service providers are being founded all over the globe and how existing companies are expanding. But some are better than others, and Maryland-based Xometry has just revealed they have grown out of their first office and have therefore opened another facility in Bethesda, Maryland. Though already employing 50 people and with a customer base of some 16,000 companies, CEO Randy Altschuler revealed this is just the beginning of their ambitions – they want to become a digital hub for the US manufacturing industry; the Amazon of on-demand production.
And if you’re familiar with Xometry, you’ll have seen that they have all the ingredients necessary for success. CEO Altschuler, of course, is a veteran tech business developer. When he gets on board somewhere, you know a lot is happening. Between 2000 and 2008, he co-founded two East coast companies that would be sold for big money. OfficeTiger was bought for 250 million by R.R. Donnelley in 2006, while E-Waste recycling firm CloudBlue was acquired for an undisclosed fee.
When Xometry launched in 2013 by Altschuler, it therefore raised quite a bit of attention. It has grown into a signification 3D printing-centered on-demand manufacturing facility, with a huge focus on customizable services. They previously raised 16 million from private investors, and a further $8.8 million in an investment round led by Highland Capital Partners. Right now, they have roughly 16,000 companies in their customer base, but more is coming. In an interview with DC Inno, Altschuler revealed their ambition to become the Amazon of on-demand manufacturing and double their staff to 100 – particularly increasing their presence in terms of software development and marketing.
As Altschuler explained, the key to their success is twofold – an accessible online interface that acts as an easy-to-use custom manufacturing hub. Through their software platform, they are already taking in manufacturing orders for a wide range of companies, from the average Kickstarter team to Fortune 500 brands; previous customers include NASA, Raytheon, P&G, General Electric and Toyota. They also have a high-tech manufacturing facility that does more than 3D printing (including direct metal laser sintering), but also CNC machining, metal binder jetting and more. Both small batch manufacturing (of several thousand units) and large scale options are available.
In a nutshell, they are now working on breaking through the limited on-demand manufacturing options. While on-demand manufacturing exists in various shapes and sizes, this can be a manual, frustrating, inconvenient and non-transparent process. Xometry, Altschuler says, is working to change that process.
The challenge, he adds, is in bringing the tens of thousands of producers (each with their own specialisms) together into a clear and concise dashboard for placing orders, enabling customers to get a price quote and a better view of their products as soon as possible. “Whether you are a Fortune 100 company or a startup, you receive instant pricing and expert recommendations just by uploading a 3D-CAD file,” he explains. “It’s the same process whether you need a CNC Machining solution, 3D-printed part or Urethane casting. In the past, in order to build a custom part, it took considerable time to figure out the manufacturability and pricing. We simplify the process and help ensure you get the parts you need at a low cost.”
When customers upload schematics or designs into the Xometry system along with some criteria, they will be immediately provided with some suggestions that match their wishes. Depending on their most significant wishes in terms of quality, material, price or production speed, they will be easily helped forward to minimize the hassle involved. Essentially, they are seeking to bring US-based manufacturing into the digital age, much in the same way that retail moved to the web over the last decade. Xometry, in that perspective, becomes the Amazon of manufacturing.
That is quite an ambition, and this second office in Bethesda is the first step in that direction. “Opening up the Bethesda office is a key part of our growth plan and supports our recent rapid trajectory. We were outgrowing our Gaithersburg facility and have plans to double our team this year, especially in Development and Marketing. We’re dedicated to building a world-class team and having an additional office location closer to the DC downtown area will help achieve that goal," said Altschuler.
The next step will be to scale out their software platform to reach a wider audience in the US manufacturing industry – something they feel will help customers everywhere. "The more innovative the U.S. manufacturing industry can be, the more we can meet the needs of American businesses and help them drive their own innovation in their own categories. We see Manufacturing as a Service as a key growth opportunity for the industry," Altschuler concluded. In short, this is just a preview of many things that are yet to come.
Posted in 3D Printer Company
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