Four years ago, a company called New Matter arrived on the scene with its affordable, accessible MOD-t 3D printer, launched via Indiegogo. The company ended up raising nearly double its original crowdfunding goal and closed a $6.5 million Series A funding round a few months later, and the 3D printer went on to become a popular favorite, well-liked for its simplicity, ease of use, and certainly for its low price tag. The company’s offerings were a favorite especially among educators – and the education industry was a favorite of New Matter, which donated hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of 3D printers and supplies to schools and learning centers. New Matter also stepped up to help customers of a shuttering 3D printing business in March 2016 and introducing the second generation of the MOD-t 3D printer in October 2017.
Sadly, New Matter announced this week that it will be closing its doors, effective at the end of this month. Despite a successful four years, selling more than 10,000 3D printers to customers around the world, the business is no longer sustainable.
New Matter is the second company within a week to shut down; Type A Machines announced last week that it would be closing, making one wonder what’s going on in the 3D printing industry. Or, more specifically, the desktop 3D printing industry. Many experts have said that the future of the 3D printing industry is in industrial 3D printers, and although there is still talk by some of a 3D printer in every home one day, the desktop 3D printer hasn’t caught on among individual consumers the way it was once predicted it would. Desktop 3D printers certainly aren’t at risk of becoming obsolete, but it may very well be that the market has become saturated. New consumer 3D printers are constantly being released, not to mention introduced via crowdfunding campaigns, making it hard for any one company to stay ahead of the pack, with the exception of a few. In such a crowded market, even a strong company with a lot to offer can go under.
“It has become clear that our aspirations to transform the industry simply don’t fit profitably into the current market dynamics in desktop 3D printing,” said New Matter CEO Steve Schell in a letter posted to the company’s website.
MOD-t owners can be reassured that their 3D printers will remain functional even after the company closes. The New Matter Store will still remain operational until mid-summer 2018, and limited technical support will be available. After that time, MOD-t 3D printers will lose their Wi-Fi functionality, but they will still be able to print via USB and the MOD-t desktop app. Schell has released an FAQ covering the cessation of operations and what that means for customers.
Right now, New Matter is having a going out of business sale on filament, print surface plates, and its Quil 3D printing pen. These items are steeply discounted, so now’s the time if you want to stock up.
“Most importantly, we want to thank all of you who have supported us,” said Schell. “Despite our disappointment with this outcome, the whole New Matter team is nonetheless proud of what we’ve accomplished over the last four years, and we recognize that we simply could not have achieved what we have without your enthusiasm and encouragement.”
New Matter will certainly be missed, and its closure along with that of Type A Machines is a harsh reminder that it’s not easy to survive in the 3D printing industry – especially, these days, in the consumer market.
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