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Venture funding for 3-D printing companies is on track for a record year, according to an analysis of deals conducted by VC database PitchBook for Forbes. That's the case even before accounting for the coming $300 million fundraise from 3-D printing unicorn Carbon, which was first reported by PitchBook on Thursday.
So far this year, 3-D printing companies have attracted $400 million in venture funding, half the $800 million they had garnered in the entirety of last year, and surpassing the $300 million they'd attracted the year before that, according to the PitchBook analysis. If deal flow continued at that rate, it would cross the billion-dollar mark for the first time in five years, even before accounting for the Carbon deal.
While those dollars are a pittance compared to the funding numbers for healthcare or software companies, they represent a big bump up for 3-D printing, which has been gaining adoption in the industrial sector and has spawned hundreds of new startups. In 2014, for example, 3-D printing companies attracted just $100 million in VC funding, according to the PitchBook analysis.
Carbon's $300 million fundraise would be the largest deal of the past five years among 3-D printing companies, according to the PitchBook analysis, surpassing the same firm's earlier $200 million deal in February 2018. The company is currently valued at $1.7 billion, and could be worth as much as $2.5 billion after the new funding. Carbon declined to comment.
Three of the top 10 deals of the past five years have occurred in the first few months of this year, according to the PitchBook analysis: Metal 3-D printer maker Desktop Metal raised $160 million, reaching a valuation of $1.5 billion; Markforged, which makes 3-D printers for carbon and metal, raised $82 million, hitting a valuation of $820 million; and 3-D printing service provider Fast Radius brought in $48 million, reaching a valuation of $400 million.
Carbon is best known for its partnership with Adidas, with whom it is partnering on midsoles for the German sportswear giant’s Futurecraft 4D running shoes. The Redwood City, California-based company counts Sequoia, GV, Fidelity, General Electric and Adidas Ventures among its existing investors.