Glowforge (2)

Seattle-based 3D laser printer company Glowforge announced a $22 million Series B funding round led by Foundry Group and True Ventures. This investment round follows the largest 30-day crowdfund campaign in history last fall, during which Glowforge received $27.9 million in pre-orders.

Glowforge is a desktop laser that prints beautiful and useful products, from leather wallets to hardwood jewelry boxes, with a press of its single button. Designs can come from any software that can produce a PDF or a picture, such as Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator. Onboard cameras can scan drawings and convert them directly to designs as well.

Foundry Group and True Ventures returned after leading the $9 million Series A for Glowforge in May 2015. “We asked Dan if we could double down on Glowforge because we could see from their crowdfunding campaign and from the machine in our office that this was something magical and different,” said Brad Feld, Foundry Group managing director. “Our firm has always focused on hardware that changes the way that people interact with technology. Also, I have to admit: we really love lasers.”

While traditional 3D printing uses plastic to build up layer upon layer of material over the course of hours, Glowforge uses subtractive technology that can produce a product in minutes. The precision laser lets people create products from dozens of materials including leather, hardwoods, fabric, plastic, paper, and even chocolate.

“I co-founded Glowforge after I had the fortune to play with industrial lasers and see how they could make truly beautiful and useful products in the blink of an eye. This company is built around the idea of simplifying that technology and making it more affordable, so anyone can take their dreams from idea to creation,” said Glowforge CEO Dan Shapiro. “Delivering Glowforge printers to beta customers and seeing their delight - and the beautiful things they create - is what makes our company tick. With this financing, we can deliver not just an amazing product to the people who’ve ordered it already, but we can scale up our American assembly line to make this available to schools, homes, and businesses around the world.”

Glowforge’s patent-pending technology unlocks the power of traditional CNC laser cutting/engraving systems for designers, artists, makers, and entrepreneurs. The Glowforge app runs on cloud software so users can print from any web browser, including a desktop, tablet, or phone. The 3D autofocus system automatically accommodates materials of different thicknesses. The dual onboard cameras let the user drag and drop their design, then preview their print for perfect results. The wi-fi connectivity means that - with the optional air filter - all you need is an outlet to locate the Glowforge printer anywhere in a home or business.

To complement the launch of its printers, Glowforge is announcing the forthcoming launch of its line of Proofgrade™ materials and a new, premium catalog of printable designs. Besides offering the fastest and highest quality prints, Proofgrade materials come with a UV barcode that allow the Glowforge printer to automatically detect the materials and adjust it settings for the perfect print, every time. Designs from the Glowforge catalog are simple to use so users can quickly print a handbag, picture frame, dollhouse, and more.

“When we first invested, it was because of the incredible hardware that the team demonstrated,” said True Ventures partner Tony Conrad. “But when they showed us the gorgeous software, the beautiful catalog, and the high-quality Proofgrade materials that would let anyone be successful right out the box, we knew we wanted to be a bigger part of the story."

In the nine months since the crowdfunding campaign, the Glowforge team has grown from 14 to 33 full-time employees and currently lists more than 20 open positions. Glowforge printers ordered during the initial crowdfund are scheduled to ship in December 2016. Pre-orders are still available at 40% off MSRP and are scheduled to ship March 2017.

Glowforge announced a $9 million Series A funding round to bring their 3D Laser Printer to market this year. The round was led by Foundry Group and True Ventures, with participation from Bre Pettis—cofounder and former CEO of MakerBot—and Jenny Lawton—former CEO of MakerBot.

Glowforge’s 3D laser printer packages the experience and precision of woodworkers, paper crafters, leatherworkers, and multimedia artisans into a single tool. By re-inventing laser cutter/engraver technology with cloud software and smartphone sensors, creators can go directly from design to small-scale production with the push of a button. The funding goes to growing the team as they hire mechanical, electrical and software engineers in their century-old building in south Seattle.

“For years, people have been talking about putting factories in the home. That’s silly. I want a factory in my home like I want a McDonalds in my kitchen. With Glowforge, we’re reinventing what it means to be ‘homemade’: custom, high-quality products produced quickly and inexpensively with your Glowforge,” said Dan Shapiro, CEO and cofounder, Glowforge. “The first time I used a laser it was to prototype Robot Turtles, the best-selling board game in Kickstarter history. The technology was powerful, but atrociously difficult to use. The Glowforge is so simple that my kids dash over to make a toy and are playing with the results minutes later. Yet it’s powerful and precise enough that designers, engineers, and architects can create finished products that are higher-quality than what you’d find in a store.”

Glowforge allows designers to create one-of-a-kind objects, such as custom leather satchels, unique jewelry, distinctive hardwood light fixtures, and decorative smartphone engravings. The Glowforge is compatible with design software like Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, Inkscape, and Autocad. Unlike 3D printers that slowly build up objects out of plastic strands, the Glowforge uses a laser to quickly cut and etch products out of durable and beautiful materials such as wood, leather, foam, paper, and fabric.

“I’ve been investing in hardware companies for twenty years, from Harmonix to Makerbot to Fitbit. Now we’re at a crossroads between the growth of Etsy, the maker movement, and the 3D printing industry. It’s clear the world is ready for a device that can create beautiful, homemade products at the push of a button,” said Brad Feld, Foundry Group. “I’m excited to back a team of executives with a history of founding six companies worth hundreds of millions of dollars across both hardware and software.”

For creative professionals that struggle to meet increased demand for their customized products, Glowforge provides an affordable way to scale their business. For the artist or maker, Glowforge provides a lightning fast, precise, and versatile tool that is easy to use.

Glowforge’s 3D laser printer is expected to be available for purchase in late 2015 for less than $2,500.

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