3D Printer Outfit MakerBot Raises $10 Million

By Beecher Tuttle August 24, 2011

Low-cost 3D printer manufacturer MakerBot Industries has raised an additional $10 million in funding, the company announced on Tuesday. The round was led by venture capitalist firm Foundry Group and supported by Bezos Expeditions, True Ventures, RRE and several MakerBot angel investors.

Although the technology has been around for nearly a decade, 3D printing has failed to make its mark anywhere outside of the manufacturing setting, mostly due its high cost. The price tag on industrial-grade three-dimensional printers range anywhere from $10,000 to $500,000, making them cost prohibitive for all consumers and nearly every business.

Since it opened its doors in 2009, MakerBot has been working to change this trend by designing and manufacturing consumer-grade 3D printers that cost as little as $1,000.

The initial model – dubbed the Cupcake – was sold as a kit product that needed to be assembled by end users, as is the existing product, the Thing-O-Matic. However, the company’s next generation 3D printer will come fully assembled.

MakerBot and its investors envision that 3D printing technology will become a mainstay in the next few years, both in the consumer and business markets.

“I believe that we’ll look back in 20 years and 3D printers will be as ubiquitous as laser printers are today,” Brad Feld, managing director at the Foundry Group, wrote in a Business Insider piece.

“We aren’t yet at the point that is equivalent to the first HP Laserjet in 1984, but I think we’ll see a comparable product from MakerBot within a year,” he added.

MakerBot said that is will use the influx of funding to grow out its current development team to make 3D printing more accessible to the masses. As part of the deal, Feld will join MakerBot’s board of directors.

Check out the YouTube video below for a quick demo of the Thing-O-Matic.

Want to learn more about the latest in communications and technology? Then be sure to attend ITEXPO West 2011, taking place Sept. 13-15, 2011, in Austin, Texas. ITEXPO offers an educational program to help corporate decision makers select the right IP-based voice, video, fax and unified communications solutions to improve their operations. It's also where service providers learn how to profitably roll out the services their subscribers are clamoring for – and where resellers can learn about new growth opportunities. To register, click here.

Beecher Tuttle is a TechZone360 contributor. He has extensive experience writing and editing for print publications and online news websites. He has specialized in a variety of industries, including health care technology, politics and education. To read more of his articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Jennifer Russell

TechZone360 Contributor

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