3DHubs Raises $4.5 Million To Make Local 3D Printing Global

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3DHubs, a 3D printer matching service, has raised a $4.5 million Series A to help bring their local 3D printing system to the world. The service, which allows you to find and order 3D prints from printers in your area, is similar to other services like MakeXYZ and 3DLt but is already available overseas.

Founded by former 3D Systems employees Brian Garret and Bram de Zwart, the site was one of the first global 3D printing solutions. They’ve processed over 30,000 3D prints and have about 7,100 printers in 140 countries. To use the service, you simply choose your area, upload a model, and ask for a quote. The 3D printer owner then prints things out and gets it to you via post or sneaker net.

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It’s a tough market but the team prides themselves on speed.

“We’re very fast and average delivery time has dropped to 1.2 days from submission to pickup/shipping,” said Garret. “Competitors like Shapeways still take about a week for their fastest materials, and much longer for special materials.”

They’ve also worked up some excellent partnerships and are already embedded as a service provider for some 3D modeling products.

“We’ve got partnerships in place with Autodesk (direct print button to our API) as well as consumer brands like Fairphone. Through these partnerships we drive about 40% of our orders, this is where we see most of the growth in the coming year,” said Garret.

“Bram and I started 3D Hubs out of frustration that existing 3D printing services weren’t living up to the promise of 3D Printing. As soon as we launched, the idea really resonated with printer owners around the world who enjoy printing, but often run out of things to print for themselves,” he said. “3D Hubs offers them a way to earn money and collaborate on cool maker projects.”

The Series A is led by Balderton Capital. Mark Evans, General Partner at Balderton Capital, will join the 3D Hubs board. The company is opening new offices in New York at the Brooklyn Navy Yard and will improve its API penetration. “We are developing new features that will make the experience of ordering a personalized 3D print similar to traditional e-commerce platforms,” said Garret.

Printing and selling small batch hardware is going to be the future. These guys are right at the cusp. It’s definitely a crowded space, though, so it looks like they’re going to have to put all four million of those Series A dollars to work.