Mar 29, 2016 | By Benedict
3D printing marketplace Pinshape has announced that it will close on March 31, 2016. The website reportedly suffered from the slowing 3D printing market, and failed to find suitable investors over a 4-month period. The company is still looking to transfer its platform to a new location.
After its launch in 2014, Pinshape provided a platform, similar to the MakerBot-owned Thingiverse, on which makers could upload and download 3D designs, either for free or at an uploader-determined price. The platform proved popular and attracted a number of users, but the company struggled to sufficiently monetize the marketplace, especially as it turned into a predominantly money-free platform.
The news will come as a surprise to the 75,000 active Pinshape users, who have witnessed the 3D printing marketplace maintaining steady downloads of 1500+ per day right up until this announcement. The problem, according to Pinshape, was not a lack of popularity amongst users, but a lack of sustainable income on a predominantly free marketplace. Whilst citing other 3D printing industry closures and downsizing, the company reiterated its faith in the consumer 3D printing scene, but shared doubts over its salability when compared to the more stable industrial 3D printing business.
“The value of a 3DP marketplace is obvious in the long term, but for many, the path to monetization isn’t so clear,” the Pinshape team explained in a static farewell post. “Part of our challenge was demonstrating a financial path forward. Today, 99.5% of our transactions are free. Given the size of the market, in January 2015, we choose to focus on free, and build the largest community possible to validate our platform and provide confidence we could continue expanding as the consumer segment picked up. Unfortunately, the opposite happened, and the market slowed considerably with signs of weakness.”
In response to dwindling revenue, the company spent the last four months looking for investors, whilst continuing to support its active community and collaborative projects such as the Open RC Accessory Design Contest. Unfortunately, too little investment capital could be found to maintain Pinshape as a standalone company, and the company has now reached a decision to cease operations as of Thursday, March 31.
After the site closes, the Pinshape team will continue looking for alternative solutions and locations to where the platform might be relocated. Unfortunately, however, it looks as though Pinshape may have run its course.
Pinshape has urged its users to download and back up any files they own, as all data will be cleared upon the closure of the site. The company has, however, promised to pay all outstanding debts to designers, and has encouraged those recipients to ensure that their PayPal information is up to date.
The news of Pinshape’s closure comes soon after a similar announcement from U.S. 3D printer manufacturer Solidoodle. Stay tuned for further updates about this latest sad loss to the 3D printing community.
Posted in 3D Printer Company
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