As the hype for desktop FDM 3D printing has slowly dwindled over the past year or so, another, more industrial-driven additive manufacturing process has been gaining some much needed traction. Metal 3D printing has now garnered a generous portion of the industry’s attention, as companies like Lexington, Massachusetts-based startup Desktop Metal have been working to enhance our metal additive manufacturing capabilities within the more affordable and compact desktop 3D printer format. With a plethora of automotive, aerospace, and medical companies that are already utilizing metal 3D printing in a multitude of ways, this young startup is looking to take this usually costly and lengthy 3D printing process and completely revamp its accessibility and price point.
Towards the end of last year, Desktop Metal pulled in $14 million from a several venture capitalists and prominent 3D printing company Stratasys. Despite the fact that Desktop Metal has yet to even unveil a working prototype, the startup has managed to lure in some major investors who believe in what they’re doing. This week, Desktop Metal has proved their immense value once again, this time by bringing in major investments from GE Ventures and Saudi Aramco Energy Ventures, a corporate venturing subsidiary of Saudi Arabia’s leading integrated energy company. With this latest investment, Desktop Metal will fund their product development, hire more employees, and enhance business operations.
“Our company is focused on the barriers that hold metal 3D printing back: price, performance, and variety of materials. Today’s technology is where computing was in the 1970’s. It’s too costly and cumbersome to scale. We want to bring an everyday-use metal 3D printing solution to the workspace of every engineering team and we have the industry-ready team to do it,” said Ric Fulop, Desktop Metal’s CEO and co-founder..
Up until this point, the company has now raised $52 million in funds, accounting for previous investments from Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, New Enterprise Associates, and Lux Capital. That’s not too shabby for a startup that was founded back in August 2015, and their experienced team of materials science, software, and robotics definitely gives investors an adequate reason to put trust (and money) into them. The startup has some promising individuals working on their side, including former materials science and engineering professors from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), as well as former engineers from SOLIDWORKS and employees from the former lithium-ion battery company A123 Systems.
For GE Ventures and and Saudi Aramco, the two venture capital groups are looking to claim their stake in the potential innovations from Desktop Metal, which the entire industry is eagerly awaiting. In Desktop Metal’s case, their increase in funding will help them address the glaring challenges of making metal 3D printing a lower cost process that is easier to use for the commercial sector. Though there isn’t much proof-of-concept from Desktop Metal just yet, their prominent funding rounds prove that investors see something special in this up-and-coming startup.
“Additive manufacturing is crucial to accelerating innovation at GE and bringing better products to market faster. We are excited to be part of Desktop Metal’s future as they tackle these challenges to broader accessibility,” said Steve Taub, Senior Director of Advanced Manufacturing, GE Ventures.
Discuss this latest news further in the Desktop Metal & 3D Metal Printing forum over at 3DPB.com.