After a circa $10 million round of funding in 2012, Shapeways has taken an even greater leap forward today in its bid to dominate the 3D printing sector with a round of funding valued at $30 million from venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz.
This is a VC company that is serious about serious technology enterprises, having put money into Google, Twitter and Skype to name just a few. The significant investment into Shapeways suggests that they are taking 3D printing very seriously and have identified a valid business model that brings designer, maker and consumer together with a comprehensive 3D printing service offering. Based on their track record, there will be an obvious expectation that they will make even more money from it, of course.
According to Shapeways’ Co-Founder and CEO, Peter Weijmarshausen, the key to leveraging the investment successfully is accessibility: “Our vision is big; we want to make 3D printing affordable and accessible for everyone worldwide. This funding will help us realize our vision at an even faster rate. Andreessen Horowitz has a great track record of investing in companies solving unique problems, and like us, believes that 3D Printing has the potential to completely change the world. We couldn’t be more excited about working together.”
From the other side, the message is just as upbeat. General Partner at Andreessen Horowitz, Chris Dixon commented: “Shapeways eliminates the fixed costs of manufacturing and makes use of breakthrough advances in 3D printing. We believe that technology is at its best when it enables human creativity. The Internet unlocked the world of bits. 3D printing is unlocking the world of atoms.”
It’s not quite at the atomic level yet, but that’s a rather nice subliminal hat tip to Chris Anderson (former editor of Wired) there, further evidence that they have been doing their due diligence — at least with all of the prestigious pro-3DPers. Not to be a damp squib or anything, but I really do hope that they have talked real nitty-gritty and not just gloss.
The future is looking rosy for Shapeways, but I imagine this is where the really hard work begins — behind the scenes at least.