A company called MarkForged has raised $30 million in Series C funding to further develop its additive manufacturing – or 3D printing – technology.
The company is said to use materials and methods which can produce components which are as strong as steel, and produce them 10 times faster.
The latest backers of MarkForged include Next47, which is the Siemens venture capital firm, Porsche, and Microsoft Ventures.
Previous investors include Matrix, Northbridge, and Trinity.
So far, MarkForged has raised a total of $57 million.
The company says it has already achieved profitability, and “grown revenues by 300 per cent”.
Companies and organisations which MarkForged already counts as customers include Nasa, Volkswagen, Amazon, Google, Facebook, and “thousands of others” in over 50 countries.
One of the things MarkForged emphasises about its service is the relatively fast turnaround times. The company says “the biggest barrier to human achievement is the length of time it takes to go from idea to physical product”.
The company claims that its customers are “able to ship 50 times faster, spend 20 times less, and build products that are 23 times stronger”.
Markforged claims to be the only company offering 3D printers that print the complete range of materials, including plastic, carbon fiber, and metal.
It also provides cloud-connected software platform “designed to make manufacturing easy”. It says customers can pick a part, select a material, and just click print – across a fleet of printers and an organization of users, “from anywhere to anywhere in the world”.
The company says it has invented new ways to print carbon fiber and metal, and has extended the benefit of 3D printing beyond modeling into manufacturing:
- Prototyping: MarkForged claims its 3D printers produce metal parts 50 times faster and 20 times cheaper than machining, on a printer that is one-tenth the cost of existing solutions, which means companies can “turn ideas into products in days instead of months”.
- Ramping: MarkForged says it offers mass production of parts on farms of thousands of networked printers with “the click of a button”. This enables companies to “seamlessly scale from prototype to production instead of waiting for months”.
- Assembly: MarkForged also says its 3D printed carbon fiber parts are “faster, stronger, and lighter”, enable on-demand assembly lines and bring businesses closer to the factory of the future.
Lak Ananth, managing partner at Siemens next47, who will also be joining the MarkForged board, says: “MarkForged is making 3D printing simple, repeatable, and fast.
“This has far-reaching implications for our target industries, from automotive and aerospace to healthcare and energy.
“We see customers embedding MarkForged into their product development and production processes, tremendously improving speed to market and addressing new opportunities in their industries.”
Matthew Goldstein, partner, Microsoft Ventures, says: “As cloud services shorten development cycles for software engineers, so too is 3D printing accelerating innovation in the physical world.
“Markforged’s full-stack offering and innovative materials are game-changing for 3D printing, opening up incredible new opportunities for mechanical engineers.”
Philipp von Hagen, member of the board of Porsche, and responsible for investment management, says: “Start-ups are an important source of innovations. In order to advance and capitalize on such innovations, we have to invest in technologies at an early stage.
“Our investment in MarkForged is a perfect example of this approach. Its additive manufacturing technology has the potential to massively change different segments along the automotive value chain.”