Categories Analysis, Markets, Technology

Formlabs: A unicorn that is molding its space in the 3D printing market

Though relatively a newcomer, the 3D printing market holds a lot of promise. Due to the rapidly increasing commercial use of 3D printers, the industry is expected to grow at a CAGR of 26% between this year and 2023, when it is projected to be valued at $32.78 billion.

Taking a pole position to capitalize on the market potential is a Massachusetts-based start-up Formlabs. The manufacturer of 3D printers achieved unicorn status in August this year following a round of funding from New Enterprise Associates.

formlabs 3d printing machine
Image: Creative Tools/ Wikimedia Commons

Founded in 2011 by three MIT students, Formlabs today has over $100 million in revenue run rate and is one of the world’s largest manufacturers of stereolithography 3D printers.

The company first made news when it raised a record $2.95 million in funding at a Kickstarter campaign in 2012, which happened along with the public announcement of its Form 1 printer, Formlabs’ very first product. The company subsequently released two upgraded models Form 1+ in 2014 and Form 2 in 2015.

It is currently working on its latest product, Fuse 1, with a focus on selective laser sintering. The cheapest version of Fuse 1 will be priced at around $10,000 and shipping is expected to begin early next year. In the past six years, the company has sold over 35,000 printers.

Notably, the 3D printing company is backed by former General Electric (GE) CEO Jeff Immelt, who is also a Board member. Immelt sees great potential in 3D printing and was a vocal supporter of the technology during his stint with the industrial behemoth.

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Formlabs’ success lies in its ability to build complex printing machines at relatively affordable rates. With the industry slowly picking up the pace and the company shining in consecutive rounds of funding, this could be one company that you simply can’t afford to ignore.

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