Markforged wants to simplify the manufacturing process for 3D printing and announced today that it has raised $30 million in a round led by Siemens’ next47 venture firm. Microsoft Ventures and Porsche SE also participated, joining existing investors Matrix Partners, North Bridge Venture Partners, and Trinity Ventures.
The Watertown, Massachusetts-based startup sells a wide range of 3D printers to its customers, along with materials that include onyx, fiberglass, and various metals. Use cases range, according to Markforged cofounder and CEO Greg Mark.
“A key early application of 3D printing is within the factory,” he wrote, in an email to VentureBeat. “The future of the factory is comprised of custom 3D printed parts that are incorporated into final products, and 3D parts printed to support the machines within the factories themselves.”
He names Dixon Valve as one example of a customer that uses Markforged’s printers to print parts that are used within the factory. But he also points to other use cases, like Icon wheelchairs. According to the chief executive, Markforged has thousands of customers, including NASA, Google, Ford, Amazon, and Facebook.
Prices for the 3D printers range from $3,499 to $99,500, depending on the model and materials selected.
“As cloud services shorten development cycles for software engineers, so too is 3D printing accelerating innovation in the physical world,” said Matthew Goldstein, partner at Microsoft Ventures, in a statement.
3D printing is indeed a hot sector that promises cheaper and faster manufacturing. Be it for sports shoes or food, several sectors are sniffing an opportunity. HP and Deloitte also recently announced that they are teaming up on 3D printing and digital manufacturing services.
But when it comes to manufacturing, Mark is skeptical about the other players. “Other startups offer 3D printers that either cannot print a range of materials or are not printing parts strong enough to dramatically impact manufacturing,” he wrote.
To date, Markforged has raised a total of $57 million, and it will use the fresh funds to develop new 3D printing technologies that bring products to market faster. According to a spokesperson, the company has been profitable since Q2 of this year.
Founded in 2013, Markforged currently employs 120 people.
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