Shapeways venture capital investment
The 3D printing industry's journey to the mass market has received a significant leg up on news one major player has been given a massive cash boost.
Yesterday (April 24th), it was revealed that venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz has led a huge $30 million (£19.6 million, €23.1 million) so-called Series C round of financing for Shapeways, a leading 3D printing marketplace and community.
The current major investors in the company - Index Ventures, Lux Capital and Union Square Ventures - also participated in the round.
As a result of this enormous financial injection, Chris Dixon, a partner at Andreessen Horowitz, will be taking up a position on the Board at Shapeways.
The 3D printing business plans to use the Series C funding to expand its team, set up more facilities and continue to overcome the technological challenges that will enable it to transform 3D printing even further still.
Shapeways is among the largest online marketplaces for custom products at present, boasting more than one million 3D-printed products to date and 60,000 new designs uploaded every month.
On Shapeways, individuals can make, purchase and sell on custom-made products such as simple items like iPhone cases and jewellery to more sophisticated pieces like functional parts for gadgets and machines.
The Shapeways marketplace is home to 10,000 shops run by independent designers who then sell on their products to customers the world over - and naturally this growing company has some big ideas for the future.
Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer Peter Weijmarshausen stated: "Our vision is big - we want to make 3D printing affordable and accessible for everyone worldwide."
Commenting on the Series C round of funding, he remarked: "This funding will help us realise our vision at an even faster rate. Andreessen Horowitz has a great track record of investing in companies solving unique problems, and like us, believes that 3D printing has the potential to completely change the world. We couldn't be more excited about working together."
Andreessen Horowitz - which is based in California - has a talent for making shrewd investments and Shapeways appears to be a good horse to back.
Mr Dixon himself has claimed the firm has created a robust community, while also building a strong service model and factory footprint, having opened a New York facility in the fourth quarter of 2012.
It is this concentrated investment in production hardware and services that has separated Shapeways from other businesses of the same ilk, as its success is not only helping to nurture manufacturing at a grass roots level, but it is also providing opportunities for more designers to make money from their creations.