There was a massive raise for the 3D printing industry this morning, as Massachusetts-based Formlabs announced a $150 million Series E. The round, led by SoftBank’s Vision Fund 2, effectively doubles the value of the unicorn to $2 billion dollars.
The news comes during a kind of resurgence as the once-beleaguered industry is seeing a massive uptick in interest -- and funding. Of note, Desktop Metal, Shapeways, Velo3D and Markforged have all announced plans to go public via SPAC. The company notes a recent study that projects that the industry will hit more than $51 billion by 2026. The news arrives as technology is improving, materials are diversifying and companies are looking for ways to introduce additive manufacturing into mass production.
Founded in 2011 by MIT Media Lab students, Formlabs has been something of an anomaly in the world of 3D printing. The company adapted a formerly industrial method of additive manufacturing (stereolithography) to a desktop form factor. It was enough to keep the firm going amid a bubble burst for the industry.
“Today, most 3D printing technology is still too expensive and difficult to use for widespread adoption,” CEO Max Lobovsky said in a press release tied to the round. “Our laser focus on improving the user experience and quality of these machines while bringing down the cost is central to our success and the growth of the industry. With this investment, we plan to expand our current portfolio of SLA and SLS technology and accelerate our product development to continue delivering on the expectations of the 3D printing industry.”
The large round will go toward increasing the company’s global headcount and helping Formlabs scale its technology toward mass production -- a longstanding sticking point for most 3D printing tech.