Markforged Takes in $82M Investment for Mass Production
Michael Molitch-Hou posted on March 21, 2019 |

Markforged has already made a name for itself in the 3D printing industry, continually reinventing the technology with every major product release. It’s no surprise, then, that the company, now on its Series D round of investment, has raked in $82 million to see the firm develop 3D printing for mass production.

A Markforged print farm. (Image courtesy of Markforged.)
A Markforged print farm. (Image courtesy of Markforged.)

The financing round was led by Summit Partners and included investments from existing partners: Matrix Partners, M12, Microsoft’s Venture Fund, Next47, and Porsche SE. The infusion of funds will allow Markforged to speed up its roadmap, which includes mass production printers along with new materials, as well as global expansion.

Given the size of the investment, it’s worth providing a brief recap of the company’s history. In 2013, Markforged introduced its first system capable of fabricating nylon parts reinforced with continuous carbon fiber, as well as fiber glass and Kevlar, thus bringing unseen strength to the 3D printing industry. This system was improved in terms of size and reliability, as Markforged added laser leveling, in-process inspection and calibration.

In 2017, the firm added metal to its portfolio with the Metal X 3D printer, which is capable of producing metal parts on a system priced at less than $100,000. With atomic diffusion additive manufacturing, metal powder held together with a binder is used to print green parts that are then sintered to produce the final components.

Throughout this journey, the company has been stretching around the globe, serving customers in over 50 countries and filing for 133 patents, with 38 already issued. In 2018, Markforged shipped over 2,500 3D printers, a significant sum in this niche industry.

“We have been actively monitoring the additive manufacturing market for the last decade and are excited to partner with the Markforged team,” said Michael Medici, a managing director at Summit Partners and a member of the Markforged Board of Directors. “Markforged has been quietly executing at an incredible pace for the last five years, delivering exceptional products that solve real-world industrial manufacturing needs. Greg [Mark] and his team are focused on continued product innovation, and we believe the best is yet to come for Markforged and its customers.”

Markforged has already demonstrated examples of the Metal X system used for large batch printing in a print farm setup. It involves networking multiple Metal X 3D printers together using the company’s fleet management software. Rapid sintering with the use of a microwave furnace then speeds up the post-processing. Markforged has used this setup to connect 100 different printers, with half printing parts for new printers, 30 for long-term cycle testing and 20 for making sample parts, with production totaling 6,500 parts per month.

We don’t yet know if this parallel printing strategy will be related to the company’s “mass production printers,” but we will certainly find out.


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