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Greg Kress, CEO, Shapeways

As Shapeways continues on its quest to expand in business operations and strategic offerings, the 3D printing platform announces a major step forward today with its $30 million Series E funding round. Three years after its most recent $30M infusion in venture funding, familiar names are back to bring more capital resources to the popular community.

“This investment is propelling Shapeways to invest in services beyond 3D printing to drive its mission to help users ‘design, make and sell’ their products. With our new end-to-end services from design support, a fuller-suite of production tools and updated storefront technology, Shapeways is truly enabling creator success like never before. We’re grateful to Lux Capital, Union Square Ventures, INKEF Capital and Andreessen Horowitz for their incredible support and partnership,” Greg Kress, CEO of Shapeways, tells 3DPrint.com of the latest funding.

Kress, who assumed the mantle of CEO earlier this year, has told us that his vision for Shapeways sees the company serving as a bridge over the gap between design and 3D printing. The ‘design, make, sell’ ethos runs deep at the company, and today’s announcement sees new capabilities begin to take shape.

Led by Lux Capital, the Series E funding additionally sees earlier investors Union Square Ventures, INKEF Capital, and Andreessen Horowitz recommitting to Shapeways’ future.

That future seems bright, with 140,000 reported uploads monthly as the company recently hit a major milestone in that area — and continues to look forward, with more than one million creators having been engaged.

“We’ve just hit our 10 millionth product printed but we are just getting started, there is so much more to do. We want to enable more creators to reach success and this will include supporting them through design services, manufacturing beyond just 3D printing and helping them create small businesses,” Kress said in today’s announcement.

That focus on driving new businesses forward starts with the well-built foundation of Shapeways itself, as the company continues to climb. The first of the new initiatives to spring from the expansion offers individual support for the creative process — any part of it. From an idea that’s just a twinkle in the designer’s eye to file optimization, Design With Shapeways is, the company explains, intended to “help solve a key pain-point for creators looking to access the benefits of 3D printing without the 3D modeling know-how.” With input fields for those who have an idea, a 2D technical drawing, a 3D file, or “something else,” to get started the service requires only a project name, description, and drawings, images, or 3D files uploaded to showcase the inspiration.

As a showcase of what can be possible with the company’s modeling tools, Shapeways is also introducing custom jewelry collection Spring & Wonder. Shapeways has long been a favorite for the creation of customized jewelry pieces, and this new collection is set to show off the possibilities.

In line as well with the goal to expand on creative and business offerings, Shapeways notes that “the team is working on offering an end-to-end service that will help creators successfully scale into small businesses via Shapeways.” As Kress noted in our earlier interview, he is fully focused on offering business potential to the creators who work with Shapeways.

“There are these creators developing things and finding ways to monetize, and Shapeways’ role is to lower the barrier as much as possible,” he told me in February.

Of his expectations then, he said, “As we are looking to grow, the opportunities in front of us are so big and so exciting; for us to grow our business, there are so many opportunities. It will come down to focus, execution, more accountability, and more of an execution focus going forward.”

The end-to-end service offering fulfills part of the vision he had shared, and will allow for users to leverage brand development, website design, marketing support, merchandising, customer service, and Shapeways’ production capabilities. With little detail available as yet, the company notes that “current beta clients for this service create products in the outdoor recreation space.”

With this funding round, Shapeways has to date pulled in more than $100 million in investment since its founding in 2008. This latest showing underscores faith in and stability of the Shapeways business model.

“Millions of people have brought their product ideas to life with Shapeways thanks to the company’s unparalleled 3D printing expertise, scale and capability. The plan is to put this product creation engine in the hands of millions more, through more approachable and expansive services. Life-changing businesses will be built on this platform,” said Zack Schildhorn, partner at Lux Capital.

Discuss Shapeways, investment, and other 3D printing topics at 3DPrintBoard.com or share your comments below. 

[Images: Shapeways]


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