Aug 4, 2016 | By Alec

It must be a busy time over at the Somerville, Massachusetts HQ of resin 3D printing pioneers Formlabs. The company has just completed a staggering Series B funding round that raised a total of $35 million. With these funds, Formlabs is planning to scale up its operations to meet a growing international customer demand and expand their market presence, while they will also set up new R&D efforts. Perhaps most importantly, the company is planning to strategically collaborate with CAD software innovators Autodesk with an eye on joint marketing and software integration. Formlabs, it seems, is entering a chapter in their history.

Formlabs, of course, was launched back in 2012 by a team of engineers from MIT and the Center for Bits and Atoms. They quickly changed the resin 3D printing world and in many ways their current flagship, the Form 2 3D printer, is today’s benchmark for SLA 3D printing. For the third consecutive year, they have seen annual sales grow by 100 percent. Right now, Formlabs is shipping over 1,000 3D printers per month, making them the top-selling SLA 3D printing specialist in the world.

They have also been very successful when it comes to raising funds, having previously brought together about $20 million from investors. This very successful series B funding, which was led by Foundry Group and also included includes participation from existing investors DFJ Growth, Pitango Venture Capital and Pascal Cagni, thus brings the total investments to date up to $55 million.

According to Formlabs CEO and co-founder Max Lobovsky, this excellent series B funding result will enable them to continue introducing new materials and 3D printing opportunities. “Formlabs' efforts over the years in introducing new materials and capabilities have defined the category of professional desktop 3D printing, resulting in significant growth for the company along the way,” Lobovsky said. “With the new investment, we’re excited to develop more powerful tools to enable anyone working with 3D content to create remarkable things. Formlabs will continue to grow the stereolithography business and bring new tools to the world to advance our goal of making digital fabrication more powerful and accessible.”

Main investor Foundry Group is a venture capital firm that is especially focused on information technology, the internet and software startups. Based in Boulder, CO, they tend to focus on North American startups. MakerBot and Fitbit have also previously received Foundry Group backing. As part of their agreement with Formlabs, their co-founder Brad Feld will join the Formlabs board.

As Feld revealed, Formlabs’ presence in the professional 3D printing market was especially appealing. “From the moment of its founding, Formlabs saw the opportunity in making professional desktop 3D printing accessible and was a key pioneer in the category,” he said. “While the excitement and hype around consumer 3D printing has waned, the professional 3D printing category has had unabated demand, with Formlabs emerging as the leader in desktop 3D printing.”

With this hugely successful series B round, expectations for Formlabs are definitely rising. And to give us a first glimpse of what can be expected, the company already revealed their collaborative agreement with software specialists Autodesk. Among others, Autodesk software is expected to be integrated into the Formlabs 3D printing platform. “Formlabs has brought a lot of innovation and great execution to the desktop 3D printing market, and Autodesk is excited to invest in the company’s future,” said Carl Bass, CEO of Autodesk. “But even more importantly, we’re eager to work together to improve digital design and manufacturing for product designers everywhere.”

What’s more, Formlabs is planning to greatly extend their market presence throughout the EMEA territory (Europe, the Middle East and Africa). Pascal Cagni, who previously headed Apple in Europe, has joined Formlabs as a strategic advisor. Earlier this year, Formlabs also acquired quickly growing 3D printing community Pinshape, while they opened a location in Japan. Formlabs is thus solidifying their international presence, and they certainly have the technology necessary to turn them a 3D printing world leader.



Posted in 3D Printing Applications



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