Markforged launches long-awaited IPO on the NYSE after SPAC merger

Metal and carbon fiber 3D printer manufacturer Markforged has begun trading its shares on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) for the very first time. 

Having wrapped-up its merger with Special Purpose Acquisition Company (SPAC) one earlier this year, in a deal valuing the combined firm at $2.1 billion, its shares have now been listed on the NYSE under the ticker ‘MKFG.’ In going public, the newly-formed ‘Markforged Holding Corporation’ has raised $361 million in gross proceeds, which it intends to use to fund the ongoing expansion of its product portfolio. 

“As a publicly-traded company, we will continue to focus on executing on our ambitious product roadmap and further accelerating innovation, expanding customer adoption and capitalizing on the strong secular trends in AM,” said Shai Terem, President and CEO of Markforged. “This will allow us to bring our platform to even more manufacturing floors around the world for mission-critical use cases.”

“Today is a proud moment for the entire Markforged team and a significant milestone in our mission to reinvent manufacturing today, so our customers can build anything they imagine tomorrow.”

Traders looking up at a Markforged sign outside the NYSE.
Markforged has raised around $361 million in gross proceeds from its IPO. Photo via Markforged.

Fuelling organic growth

Since being founded in Massachusetts in 2013, Markforged has established itself as a leading 3D printer manufacturer, while producing more than 10 million parts for industrial, defense, aerospace, medical and automotive clients. In that time, the company has continually built on its facilities and production capabilities, opening a European HQ in Dublin and material production facility in Billerica during 2019. 

In terms of its product portfolio, the company set out its future vision for industrial 3D printing with the launch of its Digital Forge platform last year. Designed to connect Markforged’s install base of more than 12,000 systems around the world, the program uses ML algorithms to ‘learn’ from each print produced, and make each part more accurate than the last. 

Last month, the company built on its Digital Forge offering, with the launch of two new machines: the Metal X Gen 2 and X7 Field Edition (FE) 3D printers. In effect, the former is an upgraded, safer version of the Metal X, while the latter is a ruggedized iteration of the X7, built for conducting repairs in the harshest of remote locations. 

Markforged’s rapid recent expansion has seen it place second on Deloitte’s ‘Fast 500’ list of fastest-growing U.S. hardware firms, and its revenue increased by 15% during Q1 2021, thus the firm has now committed to continue investing in what has become a successful organic growth strategy following the launch of its IPO. 

“Looking ahead, we have some exciting products in our pipeline as we move from accessible end-use parts to robust production,” explained Terem. “I couldn’t be more excited about our talented team and the opportunities in this next chapter.”

The X7 FE 3D printer. Photo via Markforged.
Markforged launched the X7 FE 3D printer (pictured) in June 2021. Photo via Markforged.

Going public on the NYSE 

Markforged’s public listing is the result of a protracted merger with SPAC firm one, which was initially announced back in February 2021. At the time, the company projected that it would raise $425 million in proceeds via the deal, including a $210 million Private Investment in Public Equity (PIPE), although the move is ultimately understood to have brought in $361 million, $64 million less than first planned. 

Markforged’s PIPE has been backed by investments from the likes of the Baron Capital Group, BlackRock, Miller Value Partners, Wasatch Global Investors and Wellington Management, as well as fresh commitments from existing shareholders such as Microsoft’s venture fund M12 and Porsche Automobil Holding SE

Following the completion of its merger with one, Markforged’s original shareholders are understood to have retained around 78% of shares in the combined firm. The company’s existing management has also remained in place, with one’s CEO and advanced technology veteran Kevin Hartz joining its board of directors as part of the deal, in addition to Carol Meyers and new board chair Alan Masarek.

To commemorate the listing of its shares on the NYSE, Markforged 3D printed its own version of the historic bell that has been used to ring to open trading there since the 1870s. Complete with a Markforged-branded mallet, the firm’s gong, composed of steel, carbon fiber-reinforced onyx and copper, features a complex internal geometry, and has allowed the firm to commence trading in its own unique way. 

Having launched its IPO, Hartz says that Markforged will now be able to network more easily with potential clients and partners, while using any funding raised to ramp-up its growth and “transform modern manufacturing in the coming years.” 

“Being a publicly-traded company will enable Markforged to build new relationships as a critical partner to even more leading global manufacturers, leveraging its expanded platform and proceeds from the transaction to accelerate its impact and growth,” added Hartz. “I look forward to contributing to the team as Markforged continues to scale.” 

Inside Markforged's 3D printed NYSE bell.
Inside Markforged’s intricate 3D printed NYSE bell. Photo via Markforged.

SPAC mergers: coming to fruition? 

Markforged’s IPO makes it only the second 3D printing firm after Desktop Metal to go public via a SPAC merger, but given that similar deals worth some $8.1 billion are set to be concluded later this year, the company’s share price performance could help set a benchmark for investor interest when it comes to AM-related businesses. 

Fellow 3D printer manufacturer VELO3D, for instance, is set to go public as a $1.6 billion company via a merger with blank check firm JAWS Spitfire Acquisition. Earmarked for completion in H2 2021, the deal will see the newly-combined firm raise around $500 million in cash proceeds and become listed alongside Markforged on the NYSE. 

Last month, manufacturing marketplace Xometry also launched an IPO, but via a traditional Initial Public Offering (IPO) rather than merging with a SPAC. The company made an initial 6,875,000 shares of Class A common stock available for public purchase at $44.00 each, in a move that could see it net more than $290 million in proceeds.

The nominations for the 2021 3D Printing Industry Awards are now open. Who do you think should make the shortlists for this year’s show? Have your say now. 

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Featured image shows traders looking up at a Markforged sign on display outside the NYSE. Photo via Markforged.