3D Hubs now links 7,000 print locations worldwide; aims to make 3D printing accessible to everyone
AMSTERDAM and NEW YORK – September 3rd, 2014 – 3D Hubs, a global network of 3D printers, announces that it has completed a $4.5 Million Series A funding round, led by Balderton Capital, the leading European Venture Capital investor in technology start-ups. Mark Evans, General Partner at Balderton Capital, will join the company board.
3D printing is a manufacturing technology that allows people to print solid three-dimensional objects from digital models by adding layers of material on top of each other. 3D Hubs' online platform connects the owners of 3D printers with people who want to 3D print and is making strides in its mission to make 3D printing locally accessible to everyone.
Since launching in August 2013, 3D Hubs has become the world's largest and fastest-growing network of 3D printers with over 7,000 print locations in 140 different countries. With 30,000 prints made and more than 75,000 unique 3D models uploaded in the past year, 3D Hubs' success has proven that local 3D printing is quickly becoming a viable alternative to centralized mass production. The current network gives over 1 billion people access to a 3D printer within 10 miles of their home.
3D Hubs has a formal partnership in place with Autodesk, the world's largest provider of 3D design software, which enables its users to deal directly with local 3D printers. In addition, it has signed the first relationship of its kind with consumer brand Fairphone, the socially aware smartphone company, which allows consumers to produce a unique phone casing from a 3D printer in their area, thereby massively reducing production and delivery time, cost and carbon footprint.
3D Hubs is leveraging the new funds to build on its initial success with further global growth. A 3D Hubs API will be released to unlock its 3D printer network to other leading consumer companies that use 3D printing. Furthermore, 3D Hubs is developing new features that will make the experience of ordering a personalized 3D print similar to traditional e-commerce platforms. Following the investment, the first US office has been opened in New York, in the New Lab space at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, and 3D Hubs is looking to expand its existing teams in Amsterdam and New York from 20 to over 30 people.
"3DHubs are building a marketplace that we believe will have a radical impact on the way production and manufacturing are done in the near future," said Mark Evans, a partner at Balderton Capital. "The team have proven that 3D printing is moving beyond the garages of enthusiasts and is now a tool available to mass consumers, and they've done this by working with and enabling the growing community of printers, creating a truly collaborative platform for creating new products."
"We raised this round to accelerate growth with a view to running all global 3D print jobs through our network, hereby propelling the world into the next industrial revolution, a world in which products are made locally and tailored to the individual, suiting personal needs as opposed to the average one-size-fits-all philosophy," said Bram de Zwart, CEO and co-founder of 3D Hubs. "Powered by real human service, availability is on-demand with sub 48h production and delivery times, and an ever evolving long tail of designs."
How 3D Hubs Works
A 3D printer is much like a local micro-factory that can produce a variety of products with the press of a button. The majority of 3D printer owners use their device less than 10 hours per week. 3D Hubs allows them to sell the remaining capacity of the 3D printer to others, allowing them to earn money with their 3D printer.
3D printer owners simply join the Hubs listing in their city to offer 3D printing services in their neighborhood. Each Hub decides how much money it wants to earn, and sets its own prices. For people who want to use the 3D Hubs network it's as simple as uploading a design file, selecting a Hub, and picking up the 3D print around the corner.
3D Hubs' major driving force is its local maker communities. These communities are powered by roughly 100 ambassadors - better known as 3D Hubs Mayors - who organize local meetups, workshops and presentations to educate and inspire local makers, establishing strong social connections within their local maker community.
About 3D Hubs
3D Hubs is the world's largest and fastest-growing network of 3D printers with over 7,000 locations in 140 countries. We are on a mission to make 3D printing accessible to everyone by unlocking the world's idle 3D printers, facilitating transactions between 3D printer owners (Hubs) and people that want to make 3D prints. 3D Hubs empowers people to create a new type of product which is personalized, on-demand and locally produced.
3D Hubs was founded in April 2013 in Amsterdam by two former 3D Systems employees, Bram de Zwart and Brian Garret. Currently based in New York and Amsterdam, 3D Hubs is a privately held company backed by Balderton Capital and Dutch investors DOEN and Zeeburg.
For more info about the funding, check out the Medium post.