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Protolabs Network raises $4.5M to bring local 3D printing to your doorstep

Just one year after launching Protolabs Network, we are excited to announce our $4.5M Series-A financing round, led by Balderton Capital.

Written by George Fisher-Wilson

Just one year after launching Protolabs Network, we are excited to announce our $4.5M Series-A financing round, led by Balderton Capital. We are proud to have top venture capital partners backing our mission to bring 3D printing to the masses. Mark Evans, General Partner at Balderton Capital, will join our two founders on the company board.

Protolabs Network is a global network of local 3D printers. We connect people who want to 3D print to local 3D printers.

With the digitalization of music, movies and books behind us, our mission is to digitize the manufacturing of products. Heading towards a future where you are no longer dependent on products made in far away corners of the world. Instead a future where products will be made locally through a distributed network of 3D printers. Local, on-demand and personalized.

“A future where products will be made locallythrough a distributed network of 3D printers.Local, on-demand and personalized„
We can Make it

With 75,000 unique 3D models uploaded and over 30,000 prints made in less than a year, we have shown that our mission is real. Local 3D printing is a viable alternative to centralized mass production.

Interactive map of 3D print locations around the world. Embeddable version available here

With 7,000+ printers in our network, we give 1 Billion people access to a 3D printer within 10 miles of their home. Through Protolabs Network, anyone can transform their ideas into physical reality, with the help of local communities.

These communities are powered by our roughly 100 ambassadors — better known as Protolabs Network Mayors — who organize local meetups, workshops and presentations to educate and inspire local makers.

The Future

We raised this funding round to accelerate the number of products being produced locally, 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... Powered by real human service, availability is on-demand with delivery in under 2 days and based on an ever evolving long tail of designs.„
New Amsterdam?

To make this happen we opened up our first US office in New York, the hotbed of 3D Printing.

The office is located in the New Lab space at the Brooklyn Navy Yards, and will allow us to grow our team from 20 to 30+ people this year.

Our goal for the coming year is becoming the #1 platform for 3D Printing by connecting over 25% of the world population to local 3D printers. We see this network of 3D Printers as the foundation, not the end goal.

Partnerships with Autodesk — world’s largest 3D software provider — and consumer brands like Fairphone show how companies can adopt distributed manufacturing. We will use this funding to unlock our 3D printer network to leading consumer brands that want to enter the 3D print space.

Distributed Manufacturing

Smartphone manufacturer Fairphone already swapped their mass-production solution for on-demand and local production. In collaboration with Protolabs Network they are producing thousands of mobile phone cases around the corner of the end consumer.

Our ambition is to empower consumers and inspire brands to leverage 3D printing as the new manufacturing alternative.

This is just the beginning. Join us and help pave the way for the new maker revolution. Follow the maker movement on twitter, facebook or Google+.