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3D printing company Markforged raises $30 mln from next47, Porsche, Microsoft Ventures

3D printing company Markforged announced today it has raised $30 million in Series C funding from lead investor next47, the venture firm funded by Siemens, as well as from Porsche Automobil Holding SE and Microsoft Ventures. The Cambridge, Massachusetts-based company develops 3D printers that manufacturers parts in metal, plastic and carbon fiber for industrial uses.

All three new investors are customers of Markforged, which reached profitability in Q2 of 2017. Other customers include NASA, Google, Volkswagen, Amazon and Facebook. The new round brings the company’s total funding to $57 million since its inception in 2013.

“The 3D space is full of hype,” says Lak Ananth, managing partner at next47, who will join Markforged’s board. “Markforged is the opposite of that. They have very little hype, but lots of customers and lots of value.”

Ananth says he expects to see the 3D sector grow. Unreliability and significant cost and waste have previously made it difficult to print in 3D at high volumes. But Markforged’s printers operate at faster speeds and at lower costs than other 3D printers, producing metal parts 50 times faster and 20 times cheaper than machining, according to a company press release. Those advances will allow Markforged’s customers to not only prototype parts but also eventually mass produce them quickly, Ananth said.

“They are just at the beginning of pretty significant growth,” Ananth said. “Driving applications is how to get costs down,” he said, adding that Siemens is evaluating how to expand its own uses for Markforged technology.

Nine 3D printing companies, including Markforged, have raised nearly $229 million to date in 2017, according to data from Thomson Reuters. The lion’s share of that total was raised by Desktop Metal, which produces an end-to-end 3D printing system and raised $160 million this year from investors BMW i Ventures, Data Collective, GV, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Lux Capital Group, New Enterprise Associates, Shenzhen Capital Group, Vertex Ventures, GE Ventures, Lowe’s Ventures and Moonrise Venture Partners.

In all of 2016, 14 companies in the sector raised $233.7 million, compared to $198 million raised by 15 companies in 2015, and $15.4 million raised by nine companies in 2014, according to data from Thomson Reuters.

Below are all venture deals in companies focused on 3D printing technologies in 2017 to date.

Download Data in Excel: VC-backed startups focused on 3D printing technologies (2017 year-to-date)

Photo of 3D printing concept courtesy of BsWei/iStock/Getty Images