Desktop Metal has raised a massive $33.8 million in a second round of funding that speaks volumes for the company’s aggressive intent.
The Lexington-based company already raised $14 million in the first round of funding last October. 3D printing giant Stratasys was one of the first seed funders in a company that did not even have a working prototype at the time, so clearly this is a company worth watching.
A simple yet complex mission
Its mission is simple, yet oh so complex to achieve. It wants to create a desktop metal inkjet 3d printer that is affordable, accessible and produces metal products faster than anything on the market.
The company is still being cagey with the details, but it has revealed that it does not use lasers and is working on a wholly different concept to the majority of 3D printers out there.
There are no less than six co-founders of this ambitious start-up and four of them are professors at the iconic Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
Other people involved in the project include engineers from the robotics company Kiva Systems, which sold out to Amazon in 2012 for just the wrong side of $800 million, SolidWorks engineers and more.
F1-sized brains are involved here too
Ric Fulop is steering the ship on a day-to-day basis along with Jonah Myerberg. Both were involved with lithium ion battery start-up A123 Systems that helped with the KERS energy recovery system employed by the Mercedes-Benz Formula One team.
It’s fair to say then, that there are some heavyweight technical minds behind this project and the level of investment leads us to believe means there simply must be a breakthrough in the making here.
We just wish we knew what it is. The company is not giving much away and even the funding came to light through an SEC filing. Despite running an active Tumblr blog, Fulop has given us more insight into his thoughts on Google Glass than what is actually coming from Desktop Metal.
“We’re trying to make a machine that you can buy, plug it in, and use it in your office. Metal 3D printing has been out of the reach of most companies because it’s very expensive and slow. We’re developing a system that’s very fast and more accessible,” he said after the first round of funding. That’s all we have to go on.
Big name investors hint at something big
Stratasys was just one of the big names to weigh in with funding. Other investors include tech VC companies like NEA, Caufield Byers, Lux Capital and Boston prototype shop Bolt. They were all there in the first round and this second round of funding dwarfs that initial investment.
All we know for sure is that a desktop metal printer that is accurate, fast and reliable could be a dream come true for all kinds of businesses. Everyone from a doctor looking for a medical implant to a car mechanic that needs parts, or even a simply hobbyist could make use of this kind of technology.
That is if the tolerances are right, the production costs stack up and it is fast. We’re guessing by the fuss that surrounds this start-up that the new Desktop Metal device should meet the criteria.
We can only wait and wonder on what is going on behind closed doors. But with the level of investment, eventually Desktop Metal will have to show us something very good indeed.