US 3D printer startup Formlabs has announced the completion of its sixth financing round. The company raised $15 million at a $1 billion company value, making it one of the few hardware companies in the unicorn club (privately-held companies worth $1 billion or more). Israeli Dr. Natan Linder is a co-founder of the company and its chairperson, and Israeli fund Pitango Venture Capital was among its first investors.
Formlabs' valuation is based on 100% annual growth for five consecutive years and an expected annual runrate of over $100 million. The company's investor in its latest round is New Enterprise Associates (NEA) which specializes in industrial 3D printers. Formlabs raised $35 million in its previous round, led by Foundry Group.
Linder explained the rapidly rising pace of fund-raising by his company to "Globes," saying "The company has very strong momentum. This is the first time we’re publishing something concrete with 100% growth every year for the past five years and an expected $100 million runrate. We're opening offices in China and Japan. We have an office with 100 people in Europe with great interest behind it, so we have to grow faster. It's true that we don't need the money, because the company is making a profit, but what's important to us is to lead the market, and you can't do that without partners that add real value."
Former General Electric CEO Jeff Immelt is joining the Formlabs board. Among others, he will find alongside him Carl Bass, formerly CEO of 3D design software company Autodesk. "They bring genuine added value. No-one understands the impact of 3D printing more than Jeff," says Lindor. "He is going to change the way the industry works, and his ability lies in his understanding of scale, and we intend to grow."
Linder says that Formlabs' growth plans now include entering different industrial production sectors, including medicine and producing body parts with 3D printers. Is Formlabs the Apple Computers of 3D printing? "It may be going out on a limb, but I look at Apple's early days and say - they took something that was a kit and made it into a shelf product, from where it became a work tool for people. The difference is that we're doing it in a sphere where the results will change the way every object is designed. These things have been around for 30 years, but they haven't yet reached a critical mass. I think we're putting it there."
Aaron Mankovski, managing general partner at Pitango, which participated in Formlabs' first financing round, said, "Formlabs is making the same revolution in 3D printing that Apple did in mainframes. It's enabling every person to product high-quality 3D printing using desktop printers at accessible prices, instead of systems costing tens of thousands of dollars. We're proud to see Max (Formlabs cofounder and CEO Maxim Lobovsky, T.S.) and Natan, the company's extraordinary entrepreneurs, leading it at the forefront of the 4.0 industrial revolution."
Formlabs develops desktop 3D printers for the business market, industrial designers, engineers, and artists. Its products are among the most prominent in the stereolithographic printing sector. The company was founded by MIT Media Lab graduates Linder, Lobovsky, and David Cranor. Linder is also a graduate of the Zee entrepreneurship program at the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya and won an Efi Arazi scholarship for excellence in technological leadership. Formlabs has over 500 employees in its offices in the US, Europe, and Asia.
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on August 2, 2018
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