AM Investment Strategies
AMS Spring 2023

Formlabs Opens New 20,000-Square-Foot Industrial 3D Printing HQ in Milwaukee

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Formlabs executives, along with Wisconsin state, and local, leaders, cut the ribbon on a new Midwest regional headquarters located in Milwaukee’s downtown historic Third Ward on September 14, 2022. The 3D printing technology developer and manufacturer, originally from Boston, promised to add more than 100 jobs over the next three years at its new headquarters.

The new location in the heart of Milwaukee’s revitalized warehouse district includes 20,000 square feet of space to expand the brand’s sales and services reach and is already looking to hire at least 13 positions, including managers, account executives, and technical support agents.

Formlabs printers at the new headquarters at Milwaukee’s historic Third Ward. Image courtesy of Formlabs.

Capable of housing more than 100 employees, the new offices include an open concept floor plan, two showrooms, a print farm, and a display of unique 3D printed parts and components. Furthermore, the sales and service teams in Milwaukee will work directly with the Boston headquarters and global teams to support Formlabs’ company growth goals in the U.S. industrial market.

Worldwide, Formlabs has a team of more than 800 employees that design and manufacture 3D printers for customers in a wide range of industries and a broad spectrum of applications, including consumer electronics, aerospace, STEM education, and end-use manufacturing of medical devices, such as dentures. Valued at $2 billion after raising a $150 million Series E in May 2021, Formlabs has sold over 100,000 professional printers, and its community has printed over 100 million parts.

“Simply put, Formlabs makes hardware to empower anyone to make anything, so we are thrilled to build a team in the original ‘Machine Shop of the World,’” said Luke Winston, Chief Business Officer at Formlabs. “Milwaukee has a deep talent pool of sales and service experts, engineers, and other professionals we want on our team, and the region is home to many of our current and future customers.”

Formlabs’ new headquarters at Milwaukee’s historic Third Ward. Image courtesy of Formlabs.

Named by Vogue magazine as the Midwest’s coolest and most underrated city, Milwaukee is experiencing a revival like never before. The refurbished warehouses of the Historic Third Ward alone, where Formlabs is now located, are home to many of the city’s art galleries, design firms, retail shops, and restaurants that are putting this “old world charm” city back on the map. Technically speaking, the city has been growing thanks to investments in tech companies and tech talent. With job creation on the rise and a low cost of living (2% lower than the national average), this town is ripe for population growth, engaging businesses, and a wage boost.

Formlabs claims it chose Milwaukee for its legacy in advanced manufacturing and the deep pool of engineering and business talent that the state’s robust educational system has produced. In addition, a vibrant tech community in Milwaukee is working on expanding the number of companies moving there. For example, Milwaukee 7, a regional economic development organization, worked to attract Formlabs to Wisconsin.

“We’re delighted that Formlabs has chosen our region for its Midwest headquarters,” said Gale Klappa, co-chair of Milwaukee 7 and Executive Chairman of WEC Energy Group. “As a leader in 3D printer manufacturing, Formlabs values the Milwaukee Region’s rich manufacturing heritage, strong educational systems and deep pool of technical talent – talent that can clearly support the company’s ambitious plans. Our region’s attributes continue to be attractive to employers that design and produce highly engineered, technical products.”

Welcoming the company’s expansion in Wisconsin were Deputy Secretary and COO of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC), Sam Rikkers; Department of Administration Secretary Kathy Blumenfeld; Milwaukee County Executive David Crowley, and Milwaukee Commissioner of City Development, Lafayette Crump.

Commenting on the latest addition to the city’s list of tech companies, Crowley said, “I am thrilled an industry-leading company like Formlabs has decided to make Milwaukee County their new home, raise the profile of our region, and most importantly, provide good-paying jobs for the talented residents who live here. Creating more economic opportunities for residents is key to achieving our stated goals of achieving race and health equity in Milwaukee County. By leaning into our historical manufacturing tradition, I’m confident our pool of top-tier talent will help Formlabs continue to grow and be successful.”

Formlabs Fuse 1 printer. Image courtesy of Formlabs.

With Formlabs opening its new offices in Milwaukee, the WEDC stated that it would support the project by authorizing up to $675,000 in performance-based income tax credits if Formlabs meets its job creation commitment within three years.

The new site adds to the company’s expansion beyond its Boston hub in Somerville, which saw offices opening in Germany, Japan, China, Singapore, Hungary, and North Carolina in the last few years. All of these sites help Formlabs expand access to digital fabrication with its wide range of professional 3D printers, including the stereolithography (SLA) 3D printer line, which recently released the Form 3+ and Form 3B+, plenty of materials, Form Wash, and Form Cure post-processing solutions, Fuse 1 SLS 3D printer, and Form Cell manufacturing solution.

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