Additive Manufacturing Strategies

Markforged Completes SPAC Merger and Begins Trading on NYSE

ST Medical Devices

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Markforged officially began trading on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) on July 15, 2021, under the ticker symbol MKFG. The industrial 3D printing manufacturer went public by merging with blank-check company one just five months after announcing the deal. Markforged received roughly $361 million in gross proceeds from the merger to scale up its product offerings and accelerate its impact and growth as part of its mission to revolutionize manufacturing and supply chains through 3D printing.

According to Markforged, the transaction deal includes a $210 million private investment in public equity (PIPE) from New York asset management firm Baron Capital Group. The merger has also seen commitments from existing shareholders, Microsoft’s venture fund M12, and Porsche Automobil Holding SE. Markforged is now publicly traded thanks to a deal with special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) one, run by technology industry veteran Kevin Hartz. A record number of deals in 2021 prove that SPACs have become an increasingly popular IPO alternative, providing startups with a path to go public with less regulatory scrutiny.

3D printing with Markforged X7. Image courtesy of Markforged.

As part of the merger, the existing management team, led by Markforged President and CEO Shai Terem, will continue to operate the business, while Hartz joins the board, as does Carol Meyers, venture partner at Glasswing Ventures. The last new addition will be Alan Masarek, most recently CEO of cloud communications provider Vonage, who will take on the role as Board Chairman.

For Terem, even as a publicly traded company, Markforged will continue to focus on executing an ambitious product roadmap, accelerating innovation, expanding customer adoption, and capitalizing on the strong secular trends in additive manufacturing. Terem also anticipated that there would be some “exciting products” in the pipeline as they move “from accessible end-use parts to robust production.”

Since 2013, the 3D printing pioneer has been seeking to transform entire industries. So far, it has developed a full ecosystem of 3D printers for metal, composite, and plastic parts and cloud software for turning drawings into high-strength printing. With thousands of customers in 50 countries, its platforms are already being used by top-tier businesses like Google, Tesla, Amazon, and government agencies like the U.S. Air Force and NASA. 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 systems.

Markforged 3D printing with Digital Forge. Image courtesy of Marforged.

In 2020, the company launched its new platform, a cloud-based 3D printing software called The Digital Forge. This highly publicized, novel product 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 segments, like aerospace and healthcare.

Recently, Markforged announced a new deal with the Würth Additive Group to globally distribute the Digital Forge, along with its wide portfolio of 3D printing materials, like metals, composites, and continuous fiber. The agreement could strengthen Markforged’s presence worldwide and help customers overcome global supply chain limitations by leveraging machine learning to create parts. More specifically, this innovative first-of-its-kind platform was launched during one of the toughest years for most global economies, with a hard-hit manufacturing sector that saw supply chains completely disrupted. Through Digital Forge, Markforged believes it will enable companies to produce and deliver quality parts in an entirely new way, solving the deep supply chain issues made apparent throughout the pandemic.

Other productions and pipeline milestones in 2021 include the introduction of its newest printer, the FX20, the release of the Metal X Gen 2 and X7 Field Edition, as well as its Next Day Metal software update, which unlocked increased speed and capacity across its global fleet, and AI-powered Blacksmith software for the X7 platform. Markforged has also brought on leading global partners, like the Phillips Corporation, and is expanding its Boston-area headquarters to support the growth of its team.

A teaser image for the FX20 3D printer. Image courtesy of Markforged.

With the debut on the NYSE, 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, more recently, Desktop Metal, which executed its own SPAC deal to become publicly listed. The new status will enable Markforged to build new relationships as a critical partner to even more leading global manufacturers, said Hartz, who previously co-founded electronic funds service Xoom (now part of PayPal) and Eventbrite. The seasoned entrepreneur said he is thrilled to be part of the company’s board and looks forward to “contributing to the team as Markforged continues to scale and this nascent industry matures and transforms modern manufacturing in the coming years.”

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