Desktop Metal has raised $45 million in a Series C round of venture funding to develop desktop 3-D printers that make metal objects. The company aims to bring metal making capabilities to smaller businesses and designers who couldn’t afford, or find the space, for previously available technologies. GV (formerly known as Google Ventures) led the investment, joined by BMW iVentures, and the venture arm of Lowe’s, the home improvement retailer. The funding brings Desktop Metal’s total capital raised to $97 million.
Metal 3-D printers allow businesses to construct and test components for new medical devices, robots, and vehicles from F1 racing cars to spaceships. But industrial grade metal 3-D printers are some of the most expensive manufacturing machines out there, sold for hundreds of thousands of dollars by companies like 3DSystems, EOS and Arcam.
Desktop Metal CEO and cofounder Ric Fulop, who previously founded the battery tech company A123 Systems, said in a press statement that the capital would help Desktop Metal advance from research and development into production of its first printers. Prior to starting his own 3-D printing company, Fulop advised and invested in several startups in the space. As a general partner at North Bridge, he backed MarkForged, OnShape, ProtoLabs and SolidWorks, for example.
Fulop hasn’t yet revealed how Desktop Metal’s printers will work. But he has said they won’t employ lasers, which would pose too much of a hazard in many office settings. The Burlington, Mass.-based startup faces competition from others working on new approaches to metal printing technology, like XJet3d in Israel. But it will also compete with companies like Virtual Founder, which makes metal infused plastic filaments that work with other standard desktop 3-D printers.
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