Billion-Dollar Babies #9: 4 Unicorn Startups in The 3D Printing Industry

James Dargan

Humble Origins

From humble beginnings as simply fun gadgets for enthusiasts, 3D printing has revolutionized the way business is conducted around the world. Now, companies are using this technology to build tools, models and prototypes, and also end-user products targeted to their global customer bases.

And this trend is only set to get bigger with industries such as healthcare, construction and manufacturing likely to benefit greatly from the innovations in deep tech already being witnessed.

The MarketsandMarkets report, 3D Printing Market with COVID-19 Impact Analysis by Offering (Printer, Material, Software, Service), Process (Binder Jetting, Direct Energy Deposition, Material Extrusion, Material Jetting, Powder Bed Fusion), Application, Vertical, Technology, and Geography — Global Forecast to 2026, estimates the 3D printing industry is set to grow from $12.6 billion in 2021 to $34.8 billion by 2026, at a CAGR of 22.5% with one of the drivers of this expected to be the ease in development of customized products.

With companies like Stratasys, 3D Systems, GE Additive, Optomec, and Nano Dimension leading the charge, the Deep Tech Insider thought it a good idea to drop the names of several 3D printing startups that are making waves, firstly for the products they are designing; and secondly, for another, far more exciting reason: reaching unicorn status!

1. Carbon (Estimated valuation: ~ $2.4B)

Carbon is a Redwood City, California-based 3D printing technology company helping businesses to develop better products and bring them to market in less time. Founded in 2013 by Dr. Joseph M. DeSimone and Philip DeSimone, the company’s magic sauce is in its Carbon DLS™ process that combines versatile printers, advanced software, and best-in-class materials to deliver functional parts with end-use performance and aesthetics, helping engineers and designers to create products that outperform.

From prototyping and low-volume production to production-at-scale, hundreds of global organizations, including Adidas, Ford Motor Company, and Becton Dickinson Company, use the Carbon process to create a wide range of functional end-use parts and print reliably wherever and whenever they need them.

Carbon has raised a total of $682 million in funding over eight rounds. Its latest funding was raised in July 2020 from a Secondary Market round.

In September 2020, according to Crunchbase News, the Silicon Valley startup had a reported valuation of around $2.4 billion.

2. Formlabs (Estimated valuation: ~ $2B)

This Massachusetts-based company was spun out from MIT in 2011 by co-founders David Cranor, Maxim Lobovsky and Natan Linder.

With the Form 3 SLA 3D printer, Fuse 1 SLS 3D printer, Form Cell manufacturing solution, and Pinshape marketplace of 3D designs, Formlabs is establishing the industry benchmark in professional 3D printing for professionals from a variety of industries. It also develops high-performance materials in-house, as well as best-in-class 3D printing software like PreForm and Dashboard.

Formlabs has raised a total of $253.7 million in funding over nine rounds. Its latest funding, a $150-million Series E round, was raised in May 2021.

According to Formlabs, this Series E round brings its estimated valuation to some $2 billion.

3. Velo3D (Estimated valuation: ~ $1.6B)

Velo3D provides an end-to-end metal 3D printing solution for mission-critical parts used for space exploration, enhancing transportation efficiency, and producing cleaner energy. Its advanced solution helps innovators build the complex parts they need without compromising design or quality, empowering the visionaries of today to build the technologies of tomorrow.

The company was founded in 2014 by Benny Buller and Erel Milshtein and is headquartered in Campbell, California.

To date, Velo3D has raised a total of $50.1 million in funding over four rounds. Its latest funding was raised in April 2020 from a Series D round led by Piva Capital and valued at $28 million.

Soon, as per an article in 3DPrint.com, Velo3D plans to go public through a merger with special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) Jaws Spitfire Acquisition Corporation, leading to a $1.6 billion valuation.

4. Markforged (Estimated valuation: $2.1B)

A startup that has been covered by the Deep Tech Insider once before, Markforged is on a mission to unlock the next 10x innovation in design and manufacturing by building an Industrial 3D Printing Platform to liberate designers and engineers from decades-old, slow part creation processes.

Founded in 2013 by David Benhaim and Gregory Markand and based in Watertown, Massachusetts, Markforged’s customers are able to ship 50X faster, spend 20X less, and build products that are 23X stronger.

In February 2021, Markedforge agreed to merge with blank check company one (NYSE: AONE) to go public. Subsequently, on July 15th, 2021 Markforged made its debut on the NYSE with a valuation of $2.1 billion.

Markforged has raised a total of $346.8 million in funding over six rounds. Its latest funding, a $210-million Post-IPO Equity round, was raised in July 2021.

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