The days when investors leaned solely on established firms as investments are long gone. Over the past decade, Venture Capitalists have changed this trend by heavily investing in entrepreneurial ideas.
3D Printing, which quickly gained extravagant publicity as soon as it entered the market, hasn’t yet been able to live up to its expectation. However, Venture Capitalists still strongly believe in the success of this technology. Based on the long term growth potential in this sector, Venture Capitalists continue to invest steadily on 3D Printing.
As per an analysis report by market consultants Wholers Associate, expenditure on 3D Printing is expected to more than triple to over $12 Billion, in the next three years. Although these revenues are trivial, continued innovation and open source knowledge sharing among manufacturers promise excellent growth for the 3D Printing Industry.
In October last year, Autodesk created the Spark Investment Fund which plans to invest $100 Million over the next few years in 3D Printing ventures. In the beginning of this year, Autodesk also announced the launch of Spark, a software which enables exchange of information with any type of hardware. As the software is still in the development phase, Spark is kept free for all users in order to receive user feedback and other valuable inputs from the 3D Printing community.
In recent years, 3D Printing firms have rapidly grown in scale as they have taken up bulk contracts for manufacturing all types of consumer goods, right from hair combs to headphones and even automobile parts. Even the rags to riches poster boy of Venture Capitalists, Sean O’Sullivan through his firm SOSVentures, has targeted 3D printing as a high revenue segment. Rolls Royce also announced its plans to manufacture jet engine parts using 3D Printing.
FabZat is one of many firms to be awarded by VCs with seed investment. It managed to rake in $800 Thousand in Series A funding from established VC players such as Expanso, Kima Ventures, Alderville Holdings and Nestadio Capital. FabZat is an in app custom merchandising and 3D Printing firm. FabZat allows gamers to buy 3D Printed in-game merchandise and personalize it as per their requirement.
Another such start up is Feetz Inc. based in Tennessee. Feet zinc. Managed to raise over a $1 million in seed capital. The company is into manufacturing of 3D Printed shoes, custom made for each individual. The customers can design and place an order for their shoes online on the Feetz website. Feetz Inc. is in the process of developing a mobile app to allow users to design and order custom shoes via mobile devices.
Apart from consumer goods, 3D printing also has very useful applications in the field of medicine. Advanced applications are being developed which will allow 3D Printing of custom sized organs for individuals. These organs can be fit into individuals in a simple procedure, which in turn will reduce the various risks involved in surgery.
Although it is off to slow start, 3D Printing has the potential to revolutionize the way we manufacture products. Venture Capitals are front runners to tap into this revolutionary technology by providing the companies with enough capital to fast track the industry’s growth.