A Quick Look Inside 3D Printing Startups


A Quick Look Inside 3D Printing Startups

3D printing is a rising market and we have been seeing more and more new startups related to 3d printing being created. I had a quick chat with one of my friends from the Hong Kong startup group and he mentioned that one of his buddy just hit a new milestone for his 3d printing startup in Hong Kong. The startup recently just sold 6000 high quality 3d printers and high quality supplies. They expect that the rise of the market for 3d printing will double in the next few years as more and more companies are purchasing these printers. Local art schools are also looking into purchasing these printers because they believe that 3d printing is the future. Let’s take a quick look at a few startups that focuses on 3d printing.

1. FormLabs

Formlabs is a startup based in Cambridge, MA. Their focus is to manufacturer an all in one high quality 3d printer that works right out of the box. This means that it will include not only the printer, but the software, and all the tools necessary to have your prototype printing in just minutes. The startup utilizes an advance technology called  Stereolithography to achieve the highest resolution possible for the best results.

Formlabs received Series A funding back in October, but just recently received another funding round by Innovation Endeavors, an early stage VC. The team consist of 3 co founders from MIT media group.

The product itself actually looks quite promising. The design looks nice, and the best thing is that it’s not too big or too small. The size is perfect for a quick 3d printing. Inside Formlab’s printer a high precision system directs a laser across a tray of liquid resin and causes a thin layer to solidify. The build platform then rises in preparation for the next layer. After thousands of repetitions, your part is complete with exquisite detail. This isn’t a cheap product. Pricing starts at 3100$+ for pre orders. It seems as if this 3d printing startup will be mainly targeting B2B.


2. Matter.io

Matter.io is another 3d printing startup based in Cambridge, MA that focuses on creating application for 3d printing. This 3d printing startup is actually quite unique. It isn’t your typical, create-a-printer and sell kind of startup. It actually provides more value to the small businesses, to make 3d printing much more affordable.

Matter.io created a software to help e-commerce businesses plug into 3-D printing, and add sophisticated product customization features to their online stores with little effort. Normally, you would need to go to a 3d printing store or find a professional 3d printing firm to edit your product. With matter.io you can easily customize your product through their software in a plug n play fashion. As of now, Matter.io raised a little over $400,000 from MIT lab’s private angel investors. Looks like Cambridge, MA is the place to be if you want to build a 3d printing startup.




3. Shapeways

Shapeways is another 3d printing startup, but it isn’t based in Cambridge like the others. Shapeways is based in New York with offices in Seattle. Shapeways is a marketplace for you to sell or buy 3d printing related products. Most of these designs are fairly creative and the site kind of resembles to something similar to Etsy. You will have a great time just surfing around the site and being amazed from the designs. The site has everything from custom designed bunnies to top quality pendant.

Surprisingly, Shapeways was founded in 2007 and to date has raised more than 40 million dollar in funding. Their lead investors include Brian Watson, Alexander Pease, and a few rounds led by Union Square Ventures and Index Ventures. As of now the company reported that they have over 90 employees around the United States.



shapeway 3d printing startup


4. Pirate 3d

Pirate 3d is a 3d printing startup based in Palo Alto! Pirate 3d ran one of the most successful kickstarter campaign to date raising close to 1 million dollar in crowdfunding. The goal of pirate 3d is to bring 3d printing to small businesses and local offices for an affordable price. The 3d printer is cheaper than other 3d printers in the field. Pre orders are currently going for a little less than $500.

Pirate 3d’s main 3d printer is called the Buccaneer priced at just under $500. It comes in a whole package with a simple and easy 3d printing software and best feature about the Buccaneer is the ability to print wireless! Nomore hassling around with wires. It uses advance printing technology that allows you to print for hours straight. The Buccaneer uses Fused Filament Fabrication as it’s printing technology and weights about 8kg. The printer also allows you to print directly from your mobile devices, bringing mobile 3d printing into the industry.

buccaneer 3d printing startup

5. DreamBox

Dreambox is a 3d printing startup that started in UC Berkeley. The Dreambox is a 3d printer that is station in UC Berkeley that is open for anyone to use. The founders Richard Berwick, David Pastewka and Pavan Ravipati, along with current senior Will Drevno, believed that 3d printing should be open to anyone for a quick use. They saw that 3d printers were only available at certain laboratory and art stations. With Dreambox, anyone can have their 3d objects printed in minutes.

Dreambox, which has been installed in Etcheverry Hall inside UC Berkeley, allows students to remotely order prints by logging onto the Dreambox website, uploading a file and providing payment to submit an order. The student will then receive an access code in which they could input at the Dreambox to print their items. The 3-D prints are stored in drawers on the machine so that customers do not have to be present to pick up prints immediately.




6. Spuni

Spuni is a 3d product startup that allows you to put 3d printing in your kid’s mouth.  Spuni, the ergonomically designed baby spoon, was created by two MIT grads fed up with the mess that accompanies feeding a baby from a regular baby spoon. The short Indiegogo campaign allowed the MIT grads to raise a little over $35,000 for these custom cute spoons.

Spuni helps your baby to transition to solid food. Designed to promote the latching instinct that a baby develops during breast and bottle feeding. Spuni also allows a baby to suck and swallow food off the spoon creating less waste, while improving feeding sessions for both baby and parent.

You might think that 3d printing materials aren’t safe for child and might cause side effects, but Spuni promises that the material is 100% safe and secure. Spuni is made from a medical grade TPE. Free from BPA, BPS, Phthalates and PVC. Hypoallergenic and dishwasher safe. The item itself feels like a silicone type of hard plastic.

Their most expensive product named “The expensive Spuni” cost $12,000. That is a lot of money to put something in your baby’s mouth, but the regular colorful ones cost about $65. I wonder who’s going to be willing to spend $12,000 for a spoon..


the expensive spuni


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