Formlabs Secures $35M for 3D Printing, Teams with Autodesk
Michael Molitch-Hou posted on August 04, 2016 |
Formlabs has announced a successful Series B funding round of $35 million.

Since Formlabs broke onto the scene with the first affordably priced stereolithography (SLA) 3D printers on the market in 2013, the company has been an exciting one. Now, Formlabs has made an announcement indicating that the excitement has only just begun. The firm has secured $35 million in Series B funding from Foundry Group and Autodesk and further announced a partnership with Autodesk.

The Form 2 SLA 3D printer. (Image courtesy of Formlabs.)
The Form 2 SLA 3D printer. (Image courtesy of Formlabs.)

When the Form 1 3D printer launched on Kickstarter in 2013, the system quickly became one of themost funded projects on the site. Spun out of nearby MIT, Formlabs had taken a technology that was reserved for expensive industrial equipment and scaled it to the desktop. At the time, it was one of the most exciting alternatives to the extrusion-based 3D printers that popped up on Kickstarter so regularly.

The firm has since grown to become a player in the marketplace, all the while experiencing the life events of a big company business, like being sued by a competitor and acquiring a smaller startup. Releasing the second generation of its flagship printer and expanding operations abroad, Formlabs is now an established part of the 3D printing industry. It’s no surprise then that the company received this $35 million investment.

Formlabs will use the funds to scale operations to meet customer demand, expand R&D and continue growing its presence in the 3D printing market. Max Lobovsky, cofounder and CEO of Formlabs, spoke to the news, saying, “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. 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 SLA business and bring new tools to the world to advance our goal of making digital fabrication more powerful and accessible.”

In addition to being led by Foundry Group, the Series B round saw the participation of existing Formlabs investors, including DFJ Growth, Pitango Venture Capital and Pascal Cagni from C4 Ventures. Foundry Group Cofounder Brad Feld, who previously invested in MakerBot and Fitbit, will be joining the Formlabs board. Pascal Cagni, former head of Apple in Europe, will also join the company as a strategic advisor to enhance Formlabs’ expansion into Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

The startup also announced that Autodesk has made an investment, laying the foundation for future collaborations between the two companies. Carl Bass, CEO of Autodesk, said of collaboration and investment, “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. But even more importantly, we’re eager to work together to improve digital design and manufacturing for product designers everywhere.”

Autodesk has already developed its own photopolymer 3D printing system, the Ember 3D printer, which relies on digital light projection (DLP) and not laser-based SLA. There is no news that Formlabs will manufacture its own DLP machines. Instead, Formlabs and Autodesk plan to work together on software integration and joint marketing initiatives. Based on the exciting projects that Autodesk is working on in the 3D printing space, however, I’m sure the two companies will bring about some exciting collaborations.

Correction: This article previously reported that Formlabs had secured $32 million in funding. It has been updated to reflect the accurate amount of the investment, which is $35 million.

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