3D printing public offerings have failed, but venture capital funding continues to flow into the space


It’s true that 3D printing technology can produce tons of cool and essential things, from airplane parts to custom dental implants to cutlery. But if there’s one thing public newcomers to the space have recently proven they can’t print, it’s money.

Instead, like most tech companies that debuted in the go-go days of 2020-21, 3D printing brands have been sabotaged in recent quarters.

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How far down? According to Crunchbase analysis, at least six venture-backed companies focused on or related to 3D printing have made public offerings in the past two years. All are trading well below their initial valuations, as we describe below:

Fast Radius files for bankruptcy

The worst performer on the list, based in Chicago quick rayannounced on Tuesday that he deposit for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The move comes just nine months after it went public through a SPAC merger at an initial market valuation of $1.4 billion.

Fast Radius, which provides manufacturing software and offerings that enable engineers to design and manufacture commercial-grade parts, had UPS and Generate capital as major funders and Goldman Sachs as a post-IPO investor. He attributes his current financial difficulties to “headwinds in capital markets” which “have inhibited our ability to adequately put in place the necessary capital structure”.

The rapid fall of Fast Radius wiped out just about its entire market capitalization. The shares are currently down more than 99% from the offer price, with high expectations that they will go to zero.

But that’s not all

Other 3D printing players are also down, including two Massachusetts companies – Metal desk and Brandforged – which launched some of the most important offers.

Desktop Metal, the first on our list to go public, has lost more than $1.75 billion of its market capitalization since its debut in December 2020. The shares took yet another beating after the earnings report of the The company’s third quarter, released Wednesday, showed both broader-than-expected losses and lower-than-expected revenue.

Markforged, meanwhile, released its earnings on the same day, showing year-over-year revenue growth of just 5% plus a wider net loss. The company has already lost more than four-fifths of its value since its market debut following a SPAC merger in July 2021.

Meanwhile, the best performer on our list – based in Maryland Xometry – is also the one with the loosest ties to 3D printing. The company, down 41% since its IPO last year, offers a platform for made-to-order parts that can be produced by 3D printing as well as CNC machining, die-casting and other processes.

It’s not just newcomers to the market related to 3D printing that are doing poorly. The ARK 3D Printing ETFa portfolio of space-related companies, is down more than 40% this year.

Venture capital continues to flow

But looking at the funding tallies for 2022, it doesn’t look like startup investors have gone completely bearish on the 3D printing space.

Using data from Crunchbase, we compiled a sample of 15 industry-related companies that raised seed through late-stage funding this year.

Some have lifted some really big rounds, including:

  • Based in Austin, TX Icona building technology company known for its 3D-printed homes, led the pack with a $185 million Series B expansion in February, bringing total funding to more than $450 million.
  • Based in Tel Aviv Redefining meatwhich uses 3D printing in the production of its plant-based meat substitutes, raised $135 million in a January round.
  • Based in Los Angeles SprintRaya 3D printer maker that focuses on digital dentistry, raised $100 million in a Series D round in October.

Big name VCs are also still active in the space. world tigerfor example, led Icon’s major funding round in February, while SoftBank Vision Funds supported SprintRay’s D-series.

Exits ? We’ll just have to wait

Given the terrible performance of recent public market entrants related to 3D printing, now is probably not the right time for the latest big funding recipients to plan their debuts. Besides, anyone focusing on 3D printing is not likely to pull off a big IPO right now.

Yet there is something inherently alluring about space, because anyone who has watched a video of Icon printing his iconic 3D home can attest to that. Looking more broadly at funded 3D printing startups, it’s easy to come away feeling like our world would be a much cooler place if these kinds of innovations happened at scale.

So far, however, public markets do not seem to share this enthusiasm.

Drawing: Dom Guzman

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