Investment in the 3D printing industry continues apace with news that Carbon has raised over $260 million in growth funding.
The latest funding round was co-led by Madrone Capital Partners and Baillie Gifford and attaches a new valuation north of $2.4 billion to the Silicon Valley 3D printing company.
Menlo Park, California based Madrone Capital Partners is known for a long-term investment philosophy and links with Rob Walton – whose family co-founded the largest retailer in the world, Walmart.
An inflection point for Carbon?
Greg Penner, Founder & General Partner at Madrone Capital Partner and chairman of Walmart, said, “What impresses me about Carbon is their diversification across markets and industries.”
“Through their partnerships with large-scale manufacturers in automotive, healthcare, and consumer goods, they are proving that, with their Digital Light Synthesis technology, additive manufacturing in larger scale production is becoming a reality across industry sectors. This is an inflection point for the company, and we’re proud to be able to contribute to Carbon’s future success.”
Most recently Carbon was the winner of the 2019 3D Printing Industry Awards consumer product category for the Carbon & adidas Futurecraft4D 3D printed sneaker midsoles.
Regular readers will recall earlier speculation in April about this funding round.
New funding to extend material possibilities, design tools and digital factory
The latest funding round brings total investment received to more than $680 million. Since 2014, five rounds have taken place. Investors include global financial institutions such as Baille Gifford and Fidelity Management & Research. Venture Capital firms supporting Carbon include Silver Lake Kraftwerk, Reinet Investments, Northgate Partners, Piedmont Capital Partners, Wakefield Group, Eshelman Ventures, Sequoia Capital, and the aforementioned Madrone Capital Partners.
This most recent round was joined by new investors Temasek, owned by the Government of Singapore, and Arkema, the global chemicals company listed in Paris. Participation also came from existing investors including Sequoia Capital, Johnson & Johnson Innovation – JJDC, Inc. (JJDC), Fidelity Management & Research Company, adidas Ventures, and JSR Corporation.
Peter Singlehurst, Investment Manager at Baillie Gifford, commented, “At Baillie Gifford, we seek to invest in companies capable of delivering transformational growth over the long term.”
“Through a combination of technical and business model innovation, Carbon is delivering on the promise of additive manufacturing, and in the process growing rapidly into an enormous opportunity. The thoughtful way in which the team at Carbon is building the company and the strong emphasis on the values and culture of the organization make us incredibly proud to support the company in their growth round.”
Where will the money go?
The additional capital is earmarked for several purposes, including an expansion of R&D activity. This activity includes the company’s first Advanced Development Facility (ADF). The ADF, “will enable Carbon’s engineering teams to improve Carbon’s platform and workflows in scaled-up manufacturing environments to better support its customers and partners,” according to a Carbon spokesperson.
Furthermore, the investment will be used to advance international growth, specifically in Europe and Asia.
The final areas of expenditure announced by Carbon are a continuation of efforts to develop recyclable and biocompatible materials and further enhancement and expansion of the software elements of the Carbon ecosystem – in particular their Digital Manufacturing Cloud.
In terms of accelerating software development Carbon plans to focus on automated design tools using “algorithmic lattice generation” and digital factory workflow. For the later, fleet monitoring, quality control, and compliance information management are highlighted as areas of interest.
Dr. Joseph DeSimone, Carbon’s CEO and Co-Founder, commented, “With the Carbon Platform, powered by our Digital Light Synthesis technology, companies are finally breaking free of the constraints of traditional polymer manufacturing methods to make what’s next now, and at speeds and volumes never before possible.”
The expanded activity in materials and software indicates that Carbon is set to increase headcount above their approximate 400 current employees. Other recruitment activity will be seen in the areas of sales, marketing, and customer experience according to be company.
Growth strategy in conjunction with key vertical partners and customers
Underpinning Carbon’s strategy are key partnerships with enterprises who are leaders in their respective markets. In addition to the award-winning partnership with adidas, and also in consumer goods Carbon works with Riddell (sporting goods) and Vitamix (kitchenware).
In Aerospace, NASA is using Carbon 3D printing technology as part of the $3 million SEEKER project to develop free flying autonomous robots. Automotive enterprises working with Carbon include Ford, Lamborghini, BMW, and Aptiv. Ford specifically is using 3D printing for production parts, including components for the Ford F-150 Raptor and Ford Mustang GT500.
For the dental and healthcare sectors Carbon customers include Johnson & Johnson, Becton, Dickinson & Company and National Dentex Labs (NDX).
Jim Goetz, Partner at Sequoia Capital commented, “Carbon has cracked the code on 3D printing at scale, as evidenced by its impressive growth in implementation and products brought to market with companies such as adidas, Ford, Lamborghini, and Riddell.”
“They are truly delivering on their vision to provide the world’s first fully integrated digital manufacturing platform for high-volume production, and they are well on their way to transforming the 3D printing world.”
Looking for a career in additive manufacturing? Visit 3D Printing Jobs for a selection of roles in the industry.
Featured image shows A lab of Carbon L1 3D printers. Photo via Carbon