3D Printing Startups: 5 Interesting Companies to Watch In 2016
This is a fresh startup in every sense of the phrase. It’s not producing products yet, but the ideas (and funding) of the company are so impressive that it demands inclusion in any list of the power players in 3D printing.
While other startups concentrate on developing and applying the earliest innovations of the industry, Carbon 3D is continuing to push the envelope. The company is conducting cutting edge research in software, hardware technology and molecular science. The goal is to create a printer which works 100 times faster than current units.
Don’t be too quick to dismiss this goal as pie in the sky. Investors are listening. Google leads the pack, and the search giant has dumped $100 million on Carbon 3D to help them realize their dream.
Shapeways remains one of the dominant names in B2C printing. Shapeways uses industrial-grade printers to run print jobs on demand for consumers anywhere in the world. It also allows users the opportunity to offer their designs for resale through their store, and the company’s site lets experienced designers and customers collaborate on new projects. The success of the company’s business model is impressive, and it is making investors and competitors sit up and take note.
One of the older companies in the fast-evolving world of 3D printing, Shapeways was gestated in the research department of Royal Philips Electronics. It was founded as an independent company in 2007, and ever since, it has grown in both notoriety and funding. Shapeways began in Eindhoven (Netherlands), and it maintains a major production facility there. The headquarters was moved to New York City in 2010, and Shapeways has recently opened a satellite facility in Seattle.
This is another Dutch company, and it is also one that has brought consumer collaboration into 3D printing in a big way. Where Shapeways enables designers and customers to take advantage of their affordable industrial printers, 3D hubs was built to help would-be designers track down the nearest printer that an owner will let them use (for a fee). It is crowdsourcing applied to hardware, the 3D printing equivalent of Airbnb.
The company is currently thriving, having raised several million dollars in two rounds of investor solicitation. Its user network already has 30,000 hubs (personal and commercial printers) located all over the world. Given the innovative appeal of their business model and its low operating cost, the founders of 3D Hubs (Brian Garret and Bram De Zwart) are definitely on to a good thing.
MyMiniFactory / iMakr
iMakr is already fairly well known as a clearinghouse for a wide range of purchasables that are vital for 3D printing enthusiasts. The company sells printers, scanners, raw materials, models, and even coordinates print on demand services.
Now iMakr is joined by MyMiniFactory, an interesting new company that aims somewhere in between social media site and design academy. Constructed mainly as a free community that allows amateur and professional designers to share models, learn design techniques and show off pictures of successful prints, MyMiniFactory plays an important role in the industry by helping to nourish both demand and talent in the customer base.
CEL is a company with a few years of great innovation under its belt. Their Robox printer was an enormous hit at CES 2014, and the UK-produced desktop machine has rapidly become popular. It is the roadmap for future development unveiled by CEO Chris Elsworthy that has earned CEL a closer look in 2016.
Elsworthy is taking the CEL Robox in an interesting direction: he wants to make it a modular, multi-role manufacturing center so that users can upgrade their printer endlessly and expand their capabilities.
The next features coming out are a dual-material head and a stylus head that will let the Robox draft and cut in addition to print.
The 3D printing industry continues to experience tremendous growth, and innovators such as these are taking the market to a whole new level. The world will continue to watch as this market expands and new players continue to revolutionize the way the world views and uses 3D printing.
About the Author
Joe Crivello is the owner of AmeriDry, assisting customers with water damage and mold removal and inspection. In business for 25 years, he firm is IICRC certified and holds an A+ rating with the Colorado Better Business Bureau. If you are in Colorado and need assistance with water or mold damage, learn more by visiting https://www.ameridri.com/
Passionate about entrepreneurship & helping entrepreneurs, and inspired by the ever-changing digital space, and our 3d printing-enabled future, Itai Levitan is an entrepreneur, marketer, investor, and adviser. Itai has been raised in Israel and the United States, educated in Australia and is now living in one of the coolest cities in Europe, Berlin. Itai Levitan is the Co-founder of Inside3DP.com