July 1, 2015 | By Alec

While many in the 3D printing community must have felt that sneaking suspicision that Shapeways was doing really well, a new and widely successful round of funding shows just how well it is regarded. For Shapeways – which as you will know is the world’s largest 3D printing service and marketplace – has just announced that it has managed to raise $30 million in new investments, which is expected to go into strengthening the community and in R&D.

Shapeways, of course, is a fantastic 3D printing platform that attracts thousands of users on a daily basis. With a large variety of (metal) material options, it is especially used for creating jewellery, game pieces and decorative objects. With labour costs per product in the range of $1 to $5, Shapeways racks up thousands in mass manufacturing. ‘We’re fast. It can take one day to get a product to [Shapeways],” CEO Peter Weijmarshausen has boasted. ‘24 hours after Katy Perry performed during the Superbowl, left shark figurines were on the site for people to buy.’

Peter Weijmarshausen

This new round of investment has especially drawn the attention of Dutch investment group INKEF Capital, who have led this round. This Dutch investment group is one of the largest capital funds in the Netherlands. Hewlett Packard Ventures and Presidio Ventures – the latter being part of the Japanese Sumitomo Corporation – also made major contributions, as did current investors Andreessen Horowitz, Union Square Ventures, Index Ventures, and Lux Capital.

As part of this new round, Robert Jan Galema of INKEF Capital will join the Shapeways board of directors. Galema said that Shapeways has already gained a perfect position in the value chain and sees plenty of opportunities to expand on that. ‘The 3D printing industry itself is at an inflection point shifting the user base beyond the innovating group of designers only. The long term impact of industry game changers is very often underestimated and no one really knows how fast things will happen, but it is happening now!’ he says. ‘Considering the Dutch roots of the company, as a Netherlands based investor we are especially delighted to support Shapeways in this next stage of development.’

Lak Ananth, Managing Director of other major investor Hewlett Packard Ventures was equally optimistic. 'Hewlett Packard Ventures is excited to help Shapeways accelerate their momentum and scale their business around the world. As a strategic partner, we will build upon our existing relationship with Shapeways to help make the vision and promise of 3D printing and additive manufacturing a reality,’ he said.

In that same release, Shapeways CEO Peter Weijmarshausen emphasized the impact Shapeways is making and will be making in the near future. ‘Shapeways is redefining how products are being made,’ the Shapeways founder said. ‘The partners in this funding round share our vision that manufacturing is moving from analog to digital and as a result it will disrupt product creation, and make it more accessible to everyone.’

The capital gained in this widely successful venture is expected to be invested in the Shapeways community, as well as in new platform features and materials. Shapeways previously revealed that it had been experimenting with porcelain, aluminum and multicolored plastic, so who knows what is coming? Shapeways is also seeking to boost the company’s production environment and supply chain (which currently consists of two factories). New 3D printers with increased speed and quality are, among other things, on the horizon.

Weijmarshausen has also told reporters that they are seeking to go global. ‘We’ve got our eye on global expansion,’ he told bizjournals.com. ‘It makes sense to think about Asia.’ While there are reportedly no Asian factories on the agenda, it is thus definitely something we can expect in the future. But at least one thing is certain: Shapeways is here to stay.


Posted in 3D Printing Services



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