Last year, we took a step out of the additive manufacturing realm to cover the Seattle-based company Glowforge and their desktop laser printing technology, a unique and affordable subtractive manufacturing technique that cuts or engraves designs into over a dozen different kinds of organic material. The laser printing company brought in a promising $9 million in financial backing from True Ventures, Foundry Group, MakerBot, and Google last year, and also made a whopping $27.9 million in preorders during a 30-day crowdfunding campaign last Fall. Now, Glowforge has announced another major financial investment that will help them bring their subtractive laser printing technology to mass production.
Their latest Series B investment round was led once again by Foundry Group and True Ventures, granting Glowforge with $22 million to start mass production on their desktop laser printer. According to Brad Feld, the managing director of Foundry Group, their firm decided to double-down on the company after seeing the raging success of their crowdfunding campaign. With this latest round of funding, Glowforge isn’t just aiming to fulfill their preorders from last Fall, they’re also looking to scale up their production line and prepare for their bright future.
“This company is built around the idea of simplifying that technology and making it more affordable, so anyone can take their dreams from idea to creation,” said Glowforge CEO Dan Shapiro. “Delivering Glowforge printers to beta customers and seeing their delight – and the beautiful things they create – is what makes our company tick. With this financing, we can deliver not just an amazing product to the people who’ve ordered it already, but we can scale up our American assembly line to make this available to schools, homes, and businesses around the world.”
Their patent-pending laser technology will provide the power of both traditional CNC laser cutting and engraving systems in the desktop format, enabling artists, makers, and entrepreneurs to access a manufacturing technique that is generally too large and expensive. With the Glowforge desktop laser printer, users will be able to print onto a number of commonly used materials, including leather, hardwoods, fabric, plastic, paper, chocolate, and more. The subtractive printer is compatible with PDF or picture designs, and is also equipped with an onboard camera that can scan drawings and convert them into a design as well.
Alongside their desktop laser printer, Glowforge has also announced their Proofgrade material line, as well as a catalog with printable designs. These materials will come with a UV barcode that will enable the printer to detect what material it will be working with, and adjust its settings accordingly. There will also be a complementary Glowforge app, which runs on cloud software, allowing users to print from any web browser, including a desktop, tablet, or smartphone. Additionally, the laser printer will be equipped with a 3D autofocus system, which will automatically accommodate materials of varying thicknesses. Apparently, the development of these additional components also played a major role in influencing more financial backing from True Ventures and Foundry Group.
“When we first invested, it was because of the incredible hardware that the team demonstrated,” said True Ventures partner Tony Conrad. “But when they showed us the gorgeous software, the beautiful catalog, and the high-quality Proofgrade materials that would let anyone be successful right out the box, we knew we wanted to be a bigger part of the story.”
Since Glowforge launched their wildly successful preorder campaign at the tail-end of last year, they’ve expanded their team from 14 to 33 employees. Their preorders are expected to be shipped out in December 2016, and is still available for 40% off on their website. Those who order a Glowforge desktop laser printer now can expect to receive it at their doorstep next March.
All in all, Glowforge seems to be building up their company on all fronts, a surely promising sign for major venture capital groups like True Ventures and Foundry Group. With the latest investment round of $22 million, Glowforge seems set and ready to release their highly anticipated subtractive manufacturing technique upon the world. Discuss further in the Glowforge & Investment Funding forum over at 3DPB.com.[Source: Glowforge via Business Wire]