MakerBot and Ultimaker to merge, secure $60 million investment
Remember when we were all going to have 3D printers at home, making replacement knobs for our stoves, printing toys for kids, and doodads for our offices? Not so much. That never took off for many reasons (cost, where do we get those printing instructions?, fumes …) and a lot of the companies that entered with much fanfare have since faded away.
Two that remain, MakerBot and Ultimaker, this morning said that they intend to merge (assuming they get regulatory approval) with $62 million in backing from NPM Capital and MakerBot’s current owner, Stratasys. The new company will be led by the two CEOs, Nadav Goshen and Jürgen von Hollen.
Not surprising, both parties say that this is a good thing and that NPM’s $62.4 million will be spent on R&D and market expansion. (This is boilerplate; don’t read this as meaning they haven’t been investing until now, or that they have massive plans for expansion. They may, but it’s all TBD at this point.)
The new company may have a bit more scale, but it’s still not 100% clear who its target customers are or what the advantages are of a merged entity beyond scale. MakerBot CEO Nadav Goshen said by “combining our teams and leveraging the additional funding, we can accelerate the development of advanced solutions to provide our customers with a broad portfolio of hardware and software solutions to serve a wide spectrum of customers and applications.”
One news source said that the company’s co-CEOs will hold a conference call later today, which may answer some of the questions raised by this news. If I can find it (or a replay) I’ll update. We should also hear more when Stratasys announced results next week.
Assuming regulators approve, the deal is expected to close by the end of summer.