“Please continue dreaming, imagining, designing, and making new things.” – The Voodoo Manufacturing Company
Millions of lives have been affected as the COVID-19 pandemic has ravaged the world. Unfortunately, catastrophic health scares usually breed financial devastation too. As unemployment has wreaked havoc on millions of household budgets in just the US alone, businesses of every size are suffering as well.
The latest casualty within the 3D printing space is Voodoo Manufacturing. This may come as a huge surprise as they were considered to be a shining star in their niche, rising quickly to become one of the world’s largest high-volume 3D printing farms.
Here is an excerpt from their recent announcement upon closing:
“Dear Voodoo Manufacturing community,
It’s with a heavy heart that we announce that Voodoo Manufacturing has permanently closed its doors.
COVID-19 was challenging for everyone, but we tried to continue going. We repurposed our factory to make PPE in order to help fight the pandemic and through donations and individual purchases, we were able to distribute more than 15,000 protective face shields across the U.S. Unfortunately, without a clear end to the current health crisis, Voodoo Manufacturing couldn’t make it to the other side….”
Now, we come full circle in reporting on the Brooklyn, NY-based startup, from their opening in June of 2015 to their recent sign-off just a little over five years later. In that short amount of time, there was considerable news to share as the small but dynamic company—founded by a group of engineers who previously worked at MakerBot—ascended. From beginning to end, their intent was notable in terms of continually working to bring affordability and accessibility to potential users via a refreshing business model based on fast 3D printing services with low overhead—and low prices.
The past five years marked collaborations with other companies, both big and small. Right out of the gate, business was thriving. Numerous projects were highlighted; for example, they collaborated with Autodesk and e-NABLE Community Foundation, acting as the largest donor for 3D printed prosthetics sent to kids in developing countries. Industry leaders like Autodesk, Microsoft, and Mattel also served as customers. Upon receiving $1.4 million in seed funding from investment company KPCB Edge, they were able to expand further in terms of their facility, 3D printers on hand, and doubling their team from nine to eighteen.
Voodoo continued to grow rapidly, releasing Project Skywalker, a fully functional, robot-operated 3D printer cluster in 2017. The next year, their team launched Fulfilled by Voodoo (FBV), a 3D printing fulfillment service mean to encourage entrepreneurs to open online businesses. Overall, success continued for the service bureau while the industry continued to become more competitive.
Fast forward to 2020, however, and all bets were off (pretty much for everyone) as the COVID-19 pandemic halted lives—and businesses. The Voodoo team explains that they kicked into action 3D printing personal protective equipment (PPE), and distributing 15,000 face shields around the US. They re-designed their 3D printing service bureau factory and continued on due to donations and purchases, but quickly became apparent that they would not “make it to the other side.”
Small businesses within the US have been especially vulnerable during these strange and challenging financial times, but as they falter in the droves, the economy is affected substantially; in fact, as a whole, the US business sector and economy are reliant on small businesses as they are cumulatively the largest employer of workers.
For thousands of commercial endeavors, however, no matter how hard they work to keep up with new regulations after COVID or scramble into new directions to please existing or new customers, such enormous financial damage has occurred that closings have been and will continue to be inevitable.[Source / Images: Voodoo Manufacturing]
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