Jim and Bre at MakerBot Store
Group Editor Jim Woodcock recently caught up with Brooklyn-based MakerBot at its New York MakerBot Store
New York-headquartered 3D printing giant MakerBot is said to be in talks with other parties that may lead to its acquisition.
This is according to a report published last night (June 5th) by the Wall Street Journal, which revealed MakerBot was weighing up its options for raising a fresh round of venture capital to the tune of $300 million (£194 million, €229 million) when the discussions led to interest from possible acquirers.
The newspaper's source - individuals close to the potential deal - stated that talks are on-going and the outcome is far from certain. Indeed, MakerBot may end up raising more venture capital to continue building its business instead of being bought out.
Makerbot was founded in 2009 by former schoolteacher Bre Pettis, web developer Zack Hoeken Smith and software developer Adam Mayer. Mr Smith and Mr Mayer are no longer with the company, which raised $10 million in venture capital in 2011, including cash from Amazon Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bezos. Mr Pettis owns a significant portion of MakerBot and was unavailable to comment on the alleged acquisition talks. Spokespeople from MakerBot have also declined to comment.
MakerBot generated some $10 million in revenue in 2012, according to the report and the company projects that it will reach or exceed $50 million in sales in 2013.
The company's niche in the growing 3D printing market is building plastic models with easy-to-use desktop printers that cost between $2,000 and $2,800. These printers are appealing to a growing customer base of makers and manufacturers that use them to build prototypes quickly.
As well as having a top dog at internet giant Amazon as an investor, Ford Motor is one of the companies biggest customers and it recently published a video on YouTube showing how one of its engineers used a 3D printer to develop a prototype for a new shift knob.
When the company started talking to venture capital firms earlier in the year, it was looking to raise some $25 million, according to the source. Then MakerBot suddenly backed off from discussions with venture investors as discussions with potential acquirers got more interesting.
The tech markets are on tenterhooks waiting for more news to emerge regarding a potential MakerBot acquisition, which may or may not be announced when the company holds the grand opening of a new 50,000 sq ft production facility in Brooklyn tomorrow (June 7th). MakerBot opened its first retail store in Manhattan in September 2012.