Major venture capital firms are yet to embark on the 3D printing gold rush and it is to be seen how long it will take to see the first major investments to materialize. So far we have seen couple of individual rounds take place with companies like Shapeways, an online market place, and similar start-ups developing their services related to 3D printing.
The investment community is certainly having a keen interest towards the sector and is closely observing the business models and the industry dynamics that are developing for this vast opportunity. In the absence of a great wave of venture capital, some of the entrepreneurial innovators have turned into alternative channels to launch their dream business.
KickStarter, the US based crowd funding website for creative projects is proving to be one of those alternative channels. To date we have seen already nine start-up companies raising funds via Kickstarter ranging from few thousand to over half a million dollars. Surprisingly enough, none of these nine projects originate from the Silicon Valley. Further on, there are numerous similar projects waiting to be funded that are directly connected to 3D printing. Perhaps some early success stories from these companies can trigger investments from the venture capital industry, paving the way for well funded innovative industry leaders.
We have listed below few sample videos from the projects that have completed their investment from KickStarter, courtesy of Grzegorz Pietruczuk from Innovation Investment Journal:
Printrbot: Brook Drumm (one of three here from California, in this case Lincoln) got KickStarter funding of $830,828 in December 2011
B9Creator: Michael Joyce of South Dakota got KickStarter funding of $513,423 in June 2012
Bukobot: Diego Porqueras (the second one on this list from California, this time, Pasadena) got KickStarter funding of $167,410 in May 2012
Vision 3D Printer: Matt Underwood of Illinois got KickStarter funding of $65,346 in June 2012
Maxifab: Ryan Robinson of Florida got KickStarter funding of $24,393 in April 2012