3D Platforms

Shapeways expands 3D printing services with additional $30 million funding

New York headquartered 3D printing marketplace Shapeways has announced a further $30 million in Series E funding. This round was led by Lux Capital, and included the participation of Union Square Ventures, INKEF Capital and Andreessen Horowitz. Each of the investors are making a return from the prior round in 2015 which also saw Shapeways raise $30 million in funds.

The money will be used by the company to expand its services under the direction of Gregory Kress, who was appointed CEO of the company in February 2018. The move is part of a strategy set out by Kress as follows,

“While excited about how far we’ve come, I look forward to accelerating Shapeways’ vision to become the complete end-to-end platform helping people, ‘design, make, and sell,’ regardless of their 3D modeling experience.”

3D printed functional strandbeest model. Photo via Shapeways
3D printed functional strandbeest model. Photo via Shapeways

New opportunities to ‘design, make and sell’

The first program to show fruits of the latest funding round will be a new service called Design with Shapeways. Through this web-based portal, budding designers can pitch their ideas to Shapeways, and seek the help needed to make their project a reality.

Submissions can be made either as an idea, technical drawing, 3D file or “other,” and is tailored to “help solve a key pain-point of creators looking to access the benefits of 3D printing without the technical 3D modeling know-how.”

The second service to be released at the time of funding is the Spring & Wonder collection that will allow anybody to design and order their own personalized jewelry.

Rings made using 3D printing and lost wax casting by spotlight designer Scott Dention. Photo via Shapeways
Rings made using 3D printing and lost wax casting by spotlight designer Scott Dention. Photo via Shapeways

Throughout the year, Shapeways will be announcing further in-house brands to reach more specific areas in the industry.

Kress comments, “We’ve just hit our 10 millionth product printed but we are just getting started, there is so much more to do,”

“We want to enable more creators to reach success and this will include supporting them through design services, manufacturing beyond just 3D printing and helping them create small businesses.”

A telling time for the industry

Shapeways makes this announcement amidst fierce competition in the industry in which many business are making moves to go beyond 3D printing alone.

Fellow New Yorker Voodoo Manufacturing has become one of the latest businesses to expand with its own 3D printing marketplace, Fufilled by Voodoo, to support independent stores.

In 2017, Californian tech startup Mixed Dimensions launched the Fabrelic Marketplace for designers to 3D print their digital creations.

Typically 3D printing-only service bureaus have also been expanding their services to cash in on some of the more industrial opportunities requested by customers.

3D Hubs has launched a metal casting service in partnership with Polymaker, and Proto Labs recently expanded HP Multi Jet Fusion services across Europe.

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Featured image shows 3D printed steam train design by Jeevi. Photo via Shapeways