3D Printing Startup Markforged to Go Public via SPAC Merger

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Markforged, a leader in industrial 3D printing, prepares to go public after a merger deal with blank-check company one (NYSE: AONE), a $200 million special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) backed by venture firm A* and industry veteran Kevin Hartz. Once the deal closes, the combined company will be valued at $2.1 billion with approximately $400 million in net cash to fund growth strategy across crucial verticals and strengthen competitive advantage with new products, proprietary materials, and expanded customer use cases. Pending the deal’s closure in the summer of 2021, Markforged will trade on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) under the ticker symbol “MKFG.”

“Markforged has already reinvented the additive manufacturing industry and is well-positioned for robust growth benefiting from the velocity of digitization,” commented Kevin Hartz, Founder, and CEO of one and Co-Founder of Eventbrite. “When launching one, our priority was to partner with a company with exceptional founders, visionaries, and operators taking a differentiated approach in large and growing markets – Markforged ticked all of those boxes and more. We’re thrilled to be working closely with the entire Markforged team, comprised of highly engaged founders, visionary leaders, and world-class engineers, uniquely positioned to lead a revolution in modern manufacturing.”

Since 2013, Markforged has been changing the pace of invention. Headquartered in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the startup was the first to introduce continuous carbon fiber 3D printing to the industry before venturing into low-cost metal 3D printing. In 2020, the company launched its new platform, a cloud-based 3D printing software called The Digital Forge. The novel system combines industrial-strength 3D printers and materials with AI-powered software, allowing designers, engineers, and manufacturers to go from design to part more efficiently through continuous learning to improve the parts’ quality. The Digital Forge platform seamlessly combines best-in-class machines, software, and metal and composite materials to help customers solve demanding applications across countless industries, like aerospace and healthcare.

Markforged has the world’s largest connected fleet of industrial 3D printers after the launch of its Digital Forge platform. Image courtesy of Markforged.

Previous to the merger, Markforged claimed to have the “largest connected fleet of industrial 3D printers in the world.” With over 10,000 machines and more than 10 million parts printed across 70 countries, it is easy to imagine that the company will continue to play a critical role in the additive manufacturing (AM) sector. Even more so, as the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the vulnerability of global supply chains, 3D printing businesses could find broader adoption of the technology, particularly among manufacturers looking for ways to recover from these unprecedented events and protect themselves against upcoming major disruptions.

Hoping to change the landscape of what is possible to manufacture, Markforged is looking to tap into the $13 trillion global manufacturing industry. So far, the company has been well-positioned to become a critical partner for leading manufacturers and organizations, such as Toyota, Porsche, Bosch, Tesla, NASA, and the U.S. Air Force. Furthermore, the AM industry, in particular, represents a large and growing market opportunity, which has gone from $2 billion in 2012 to an expected $18 billion in 2021 and is projected to reach $118 billion in 2029, stated the company. With this new merger, Markforged is poised to create a powerful path toward a more mature technology and more cost-effective end-use parts.

Markforged, a leading provider of metal and carbon fiber 3D printers. Image courtesy of Markforged.

“When I co-founded Markforged, our mission was to reinvent manufacturing by driving innovation and creating products and technologies that have the potential to transform an entire industry. I’ve been thrilled that Markforged has thrived in its successful pursuit of these ambitions with a growing network of customers across major sectors and around the world,” said Greg Mark, Founder, and Chairman of Markforged. “As we take Markforged to the next level, we have found the ideal partner in one. Kevin and his team recognize not only Markforged’s ability to transform the way businesses innovate but also the brilliant, passionate employees that make this company so unique.”

With this new deal and upcoming initial public offering (IPO), Markforged follows in the path of other 3D printing companies that have already gone public, like Materialise, Stratasys, 3D Systems, SLM Solutions, ExOne, voxeljet, and, of course, more recently, Desktop Metal, which executed its own SPAC deal to become publicly listed. The news is a good indicator that the 3D printing sector is getting noticed by investors. The merger transaction will provide $425 million in gross proceeds to the company, including a $210 million private investment in public equity (PIPE) at $10.00 per share from investors, including New York asset management firm Baron Capital Group; Miller Value Partners from Baltimore; small-cap equity manager Wasatch Global Investors, and investment firm Wellington Management. The merger has also seen commitments from Microsoft’s venture fund M12 and Porsche Automobil Holding SE.

Current Markforged shareholders are expected to hold approximately 78% of the issued and outstanding shares of common stock immediately following the closing. Once the completion of the transaction is finalized, which has been unanimously approved by the boards of directors of both Markforged and one, Shai Terem will continue to lead Markforged as President and CEO, while Kevin Hartz will join the company’s board.

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