Desktop Metal this morning announced its intention to purchase fellow 3D printing company EnvisionTEC. Founded in Germany in 2002, EnvisionTEC specializes in photopolymer additive manufacturing, putting its technology in more direct competition with the likes of 3D printing darling Carbon than Desktop Metal’s own existing portfolio.
The deal follows Desktop Metal’s push to go public last August as part of a growing trend of SPAC mergers. Prior to this, the company had raised no shortage of its own funds, with a rapid ascent into unicorn status on the wake of $430 million in investments. It’s spending $300 million to acquire EnvisionTEC through a combination of cash and stock.
There’s a lot of potential for Desktop Metal to grow here. EnvisionTEC has the underlying technology with the ability to print in more than 190 materials, and Desktop Metal has the resources to help scale that tech beyond what the German company has been able to build thus far.
It’s clear that dental is a pretty huge piece of this puzzle. It’s among the clearest and most immediate use cases for this sort of mass volume 3D printing — and, indeed, the company already sports around 1,000 customers in dental, including companies like Smile Direct Club. Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the company effectively tripled its Envision One dental shipments over the previous year.
“It’s used for everything from restorations to same-day, full arch implants,” Desktop Metal CEO Ric Fulop tells TechCrunch. “Usually when you get a denture, you’ve got to wait three weeks for denture implants. This is the first time you’ve got a solution that can do it in the same day. And it’s affordable.”
Per a press release issued in the wake of the news, other existing customers include Ford and Hasbro. Fulop says the company will continue to operate as its own division after the acquisition, which is expected to close this quarter.
“We’ll be able to leverage their channel,” the executive says. “We look forward to expanding on that capability and using our channel to give them more tools to have a full solution that spans from metal to composites to biomaterials and now photopolymer printing.”