Carbon raises another $260 million to advance 3DP
And one more bit of 3D printing news: Carbon, a company that’s billed as a “3D printing poster child” by Venturebeat says it has raised $260 million in venture round led by Madrone Capital Partners and Baillie Gifford, with other partners Sequoia Capital, Adidas Ventures, Johnson & Johnson Innovation, Fidelity Management & Research Company, JSR Corporation, Temasek and Arkema.
Just look at that list — couldn’t ask for a more blue-chip set of investors.
Who’s Carbon? It was founded in 2013 and says it operates “at the intersection of hardware, software, and materials science,” creating technology that merges light projection with programmable resins to transform the liquids into solid materials. Carbon calls this Digital Light Synthesis, which it says means that Carbon’s printers make parts with “excellent mechanical properties, resolution, and surface finish”. A cool video explains it all, here.
The upshot, according to Carbon, is that it can create more complex and intricate shapes than are possible with traditional injection molding while maximizing strength and minimizing weight.
And here’s why I’m telling you this: Sequoia Capital partner Jim Goetz says that “Carbon has cracked the code on 3D printing at scale. They are truly delivering on their vision to provide the world’s first fully integrated digital manufacturing platform for high-volume production, and they are well on their way to transforming the 3D printing world.” [Note that platform here doesn’t mean exactly what Siemens and ExOne and Hexagon are building. Carbon users can simulate some of the DLS printing process for a geometry. but I think it’s limited to identifying support locations at this point. A user uploads the geometry, selects the material, then sends the part for analysis to Carbon’s cloud servers. Once it’s finished, the software adds the supports to the part.]
And it seems to be real: In 2017, Adidas said that it was mass-producing the Alphaedge, a 3D-printed shoe, with Carbon’s technology. Since then, Carbon says, Ford is making polymer parts for its F-150 trucks and Mustang cars using Carbon, and sports equipment maker Riddell uses Carbon to make safer football helmets.
With this latest round of funding, Carbon has raised a total of $680 million, at a valuation reported to be over $2 billion.
Before you ask, no, this week wasn’t intended to be all 3DP, all the time. So much more to write about! But this news just keeps coming and, if you make things, it’s important to consider your design strategy in light of all of the possible ways of making your designs, physical.