3D metal printing startup Desktop Metal recently won a large amount of money in their second round of funding. GV (Google Ventures), GE Ventures, New Enterprise Associates, Future Fund and Techtronic Industries invested a record $115 million this round. The second round for Desktop Metal makes this their largest round yet.

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Breaking Records

Desktop Metal says the $115 million round is the largest private haul for any 3D printing company focusing on metal. Adding this $115 million to their ledgers means the company raised a total of $212 million since their 2015 launch. The largest recent round for a 3D metal printing company was for Carbon Inc., Desktop Metal’s West Coast competitor. Carbon raised $100 million, and now GV has at least one 3D metal printing company on each coast.

Most noteworthy for Desktop Metal, though, according to Axios, is that the company reportedly reached the rare “unicorn” status. The honor is only given to private companies valued at or above $1 billion. Desktop Metal did not confirm their valuation, but this is impressive, especially considering the company is only two years old.

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April Launch Adds To July Valuation

Desktop Metal launched two products in April: the Desktop Metal Studio System and an in-office printer that is small enough to sit on a desktop. The Production System is used to manufacture parts, and the company expects to start shipping it some time next year. By then, customers will have enough time to acquaint themselves using the Desktop Metal Studio System, which is made for prototyping. The company plans to ship it before the Production System; early customers can expect to begin prototyping some time this August.

The in-office printer is the realization of one of Desktop Metal’s purposes; the company was founded to address the inaccessibility of metal 3D printing for engineering teams. The in-office printer is for design teams that need quick metal prototypes. The in-office printer costs around $50,000, and the furnace costs $60,000. Early customers will receive it in August.

For larger needs, the production-scale printer will require more furnaces, at least if you want to utilize the system’s full potential. The larger system costs at least $360,000. These larger production can produce creations up to 100 times faster than your regular 3D metal printer.

And the Burlington, Massachusetts-based company isn’t just a small backyard operation. It has well over 100 employees, and at least 14 of those employees have Ph.D’s. The company filed for more than 128 patents, and it has seven co-founders.

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Smart Leadership Team

Each of the seven co-founders brings their own unique skill set to the company. The CEO is former venture capitalist, Ric Fulop. Engineer and seasoned corporate executive Jonah Myerberg is the CTO. Also, a co-founder, Dr. Ely Sachs, Ph.D, is inventor of the MIT 3D printing process and binder jet printing. Software Development is headed by co-founder Rick Chin, a former SolidWorks executive who headed their Augmented Reality development.

The fourth co-founder is MIT Metallurgy professor and prolific metallurgy researcher, Professor Christopher A. Schuh. Co-founder and MIT Professor A. John Hart is an expert in the intersection of precision machines, materials science, and additive manufacturing. And lastly, co-founder and MIT professor Yet-Ming Chiang is a battery expert and leader in materials science.

In 2013, Fulop began collaborating with these experts. While working together over two years, these seven men created multiple, independent inventions to form the basis for Desktop Metal’s 3D metal printing technology. In 2015, they incorporated to form Desktop Metal.

“The continued support of our investors underscores the power of our metal 3D printing solutions to help engineers and manufacturers, for the first time, apply metal 3D printing for the entire product development lifecycle — from prototyping to cost effectively mass producing complex metal parts,” Fulop said.

If you’re in the market for a 3D metal printer with a low budget, check out the Snapmaker printer which costs less than $300.


Sources: Desktop Metal, The Boston Globe, Boston Business Journal