Sep 16, 2015 | By Alec

While the 3D printing community has largely thrived on open source content, that has always been a bit of a problematic issue in the rest of society where intellectual property has been a very common marketable product. It is therefore unsurprising that licensed 3D printable content is forthcoming to enable large corporations to open a new market, and it now looks like the platform to do that with is on its way. Source3, a platform developed with an eye on licensing and distributing 3D content, has just announced that it has raised $4 million in series seed funding with an eye on developing that platform.

To explain, Source3 is a young company that is already among the leaders of the licensed 3D content market. Founded by veterans from Google and 3D Systems, the company announced its platform for managing and simplifying rights and distribution of 3D content in November 2014. The team previously did the same at RightsFlow, for rights management in the music industry, which was acquired by YouTube and later Google.

While you could say this is just about making money, Source3 has always defended themselves by stating that they want to bring solutions to a complex and unclear ecosystem of 3D content. ‘We saw firsthand how connecting content and technology could drive massive opportunities for monetization and we believe there are substantial parallels in the 3D content industry,’ CEO Patrick Sullivan said at their launch. ‘We intend to simplify how 3D content is licensed, monetized and produced.’

To do so, they distribute licensed designs by brands and designers throughout the 3D world, including for 3D printing. It makes dealing with intellectual property for commercial 3D printing purposes much easier. ‘Distributing content, and providing a licensing and payment tracking infrastructure, is key to the continuing long term growth in the 3D printing ecosystem,’ they say of themselves.

And with this new round of investment, it looks like Source3 will greatly expand their business. The funding is led by Contour Venture Partners and joined by Western Technology Investments, Correlation Ventures, Crosslink Capital, 645 Ventures and others. Autodesk also participated through their Spark Investment Fund. ‘’ The Spark Investment Fund advances 3D printing by uncovering innovative companies in all areas of the ecosystem,’ Samir Hanna, vice president and general manager at Autodesk, said as part of the announcement. ‘We're excited to be part of Source3's growth as their platform provides a unique and necessary approach to aggregating, licensing and distributing 3D content.’

Lead investor Contour Venture Partners is a NY-based venture capital firm that especially looks towards innovative technological developments and services, and are very pleased with this result. ‘Source3 is developing the processes and technologies necessary to unlock the availability and monetization of 3D content in the 3D ecosystem.  The team has collectively realized more than $1B worth of licensed intellectual property during their careers. They have the experience and insight to make Source3 a huge success. We are thrilled to be investing in Source3 and to be joined by our investment syndicate partners,’ General Parter Bob Greene said as part of the announcement.

So what will Source3 be doing with all this money. On a general note, they have stated that they will continue product development. ‘New 3D capture and manufacturing technologies are rapidly reshaping the way content owners must approach the market’ the company’s CEO Patrick Sullivan, CEO said. ‘These profound changes represent both a huge opportunity as well as a growing threat to existing routes to market.’ The real question, of course, is what this will do for us in the 3D printing community. While the Source3 platform hasn’t launched, its full impact can’t be predicted yet. While we can only imagine that a lot more content will become available, the 3D printing hobby could become a lot more expensive in the near future. 



Posted in 3D Design



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