If there was one company which could be used as the poster child of 3D printing’s incredible growth, that company would probably be Shapeways. A spin-out of the lifestyle incubator of Royal Philips Electronics, with big name investors like Andreessen Horowitz on board, the company has been a smashing success, perhaps even outpacing the entire industry in terms of growth.
Shapeways allows anyone with design talent, and even those who think they have design talent, to upload their creations onto a personal shop, and sell those creations, 3D printed in various materials, to whoever the heck wants them. Shapeways provides the platform for the shop, and also provides the 3D printing service, taking a cut from every sale.
The company, which was launched in 2007, but really didn’t begin making major strides until several years later, has really hit a growth spurt as of late, announcing that they’ve hit a major milestone just yesterday. They reported that they now have over 20,000 member shops within their 3D model marketplace.
As an example of just how fast the company has grown, leader of the Global Community Team, Savannah Peterson started working there back in May of last year. Here we are just 15 months later, and Savannah has pointed out that the number of shops has doubled in this short time.
“When I started working at Shapeways in May of 2013, we were just crossing the 10,000 Shops mark; to think we’re now over 20,000 is incredible,” writes Savannah on the Shapeways blog. “It’s thrilling to see more and more artists, designers and entrepreneurs making money off sharing their 3D printed creations with the world.”
Because of this growth, the company has been forced to expand their factory and offices in Eindhoven, the Netherlands. Today they announced a move to a new larger facility near the center of the city.
“We have grown out of the current space,” writes Shapeways founder Peter Weijmarshausen. “After adding 30 people to the team, many tables to our distribution center, and 12 3D printers we are in need of something even bigger!”
The new building has somewhat of a storied past, once a DAF trucks factory, then an office for Diesel Jeans, before a marketing company moved in, and now the world’s largest 3D printing service, Shapeways, will call it ‘home’.
For those of you living or visiting the area, the company will be holding a tour of their new factory on Tuesday, October 21 at 3PM local time. They have set up an event on meetup.com for those who wish to attend. Do you have your own Shapeways shop? What do you think about their tremendous growth? Discuss in the Shapeways Forum thread on 3DPB.com.
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