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AM Investment Strategies Profile: Shapeways

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The week before RAPID + TCT 2021 kicks off in Chicago, the half-day SmarTech – Stifel AM Investment Strategies 2021 summit will be taking place virtually on September 9th, 2021, focused on 3D printing market activity and the industry’s current investment environment. AM experts from 3DPrint.com, SmarTech Analysis, and Stifel will be discussing topics such as venture and private equity, investments, and M&A in the public and private markets with other industry leaders, such as Shapeways CEO Greg Kress, who took over leadership of the New York City-based 3D printing service and marketplace from co-founder Peter Weijmarshausen in 2018.

Greg Kress, Shapeways CEO

The company, a spin-out of the lifestyle incubator of Royal Philips Electronics, was first founded in 2007, and made major headlines when it announced in April of this year that it would be publicly listing on the market with special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) Galileo Acquisition Corp., with help from strategic investor Desktop Metal.

“We are now positioned for scale and with $195 million of new cash, we can fuel growth, through investments in new hardware, new materials and new finishes,” Kress told 3DPrint.com about the SPAC merger.

“We’re on our way to becoming a critical component supply chain, complimenting other manufacturers with low-volume, high-mix and serial applications.”

With ISO 9001-compliant manufacturing facilities in Eindhoven and Long Island, Shapeways uses automation, digitization, and innovation to make 3D printing accessible to everyone, offering a varied selection of materials and technologiesadditive and otherwise—purpose-built software, and speedy, cost-effective delivery of 3D printed products. The digital manufacturing leader is continuously working to improve and expand its marketplace and partner network, as well as streamlining and making improvements to its design platform, adding features like an embed code widget for 3D printed products, a 3D model scaling tool, currency conversion, and making it easier for designers to customize their models.

Due to the fact that it’s on a mission to “democratize creation for everyone,” with its on-demand 3D printing and design service being used to make everything from jewelry, TV prop weapons, and gaming merchandise to surgical models, electric shavers, and more, obviously the legal side of things is very important to Shapeways. The company’s bread and butter is based on user-developed content, and it has spoken out on multiple occasions in support of net neutrality, and also published a whitepaper a few years ago about the various ways copyright protections do and do not exist for 3D scans. Shapeways has provided input several times to the US Copyright Office about copyright infringement, and made its feelings known about infringement accusations on models from their 3D design marketplace. It also teamed up with several other organizations that regularly deal with intellectual property (IP) issues, including Formlabs, and asked the Supreme Court in 2016 to come up with one clear test for determining what can and can’t be copyrighted, citing the now infamous Star Athletica v. Varsity Brands case as the reason this type of IP law needed some clarification.

Hero Forge collectibles 3D printed using Mimaki technology. Image courtesy of Shapeways.

The company has not only partnered with many of the biggest names in our industry, but also some of the most recognizable brands and businesses in the world, including Target, Google, Hasbro, Etsy, and others. Shapeways has also continued to raise funds and venture capital over the years, and has a lot of strong investor support, in addition to a scalable financial model.

“Our vision to enable anyone to rapidly transform digital designs to physical products is reaching a significant milestone today as we transition Shapeways into a public company. We have been successfully executing on our vision, and this capital will allow us to empower digital manufacturing at scale, accelerating Shapeways’ additive manufacturing capabilities while expanding the Company’s material and technology offerings to more markets and industries,” Kress said about the company’s SPAC merger.

Shapeways CEO Greg Kress will be speaking with several other industry experts during the second half of the day at the upcoming SmarTech – Stifel AM Investment Strategies 2021 summit, discussing topics such as his firm’s SPAC merger. You can register for this free virtual discussion here.

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