Desktop Metal recently announced the closing of a $160 million funding round, led by Koch Disruptive Technologies (KDT), to advance the global commercialization of its metal 3D printing technology. Combined funding since its 2015 inception, now at $438 million, marks the largest total funding of any private 3D printing company to date. More importantly, it marks an inflection point where metal 3D printing begins to disrupt traditional manufacturing.
KDT is an investment firm focused on finding and funding innovative and emerging technologies. KDT is a subsidiary of Koch Industries, one of the largest privately-held companies in America with over $110 billion in annual revenues, according to Forbes, and an investor of more than $17 billion into technology companies in the last six years.
“Desktop Metal’s 3D printing solutions can redefine prototyping and mass production of metal products, which has profound disruptive implications for manufacturers like Koch Industries,” said Chase Koch, president of Koch Disruptive Technologies. “We are very bullish about the prospects of Desktop Metal, not just as an investor, but also as a customer and partner.”
The Desktop Metal Production System is the world’s fastest metal printing press for mass production with over 400 percent productivity over the closest binder jet alternatives and more than 100 times faster than laser powder bed fusion systems in the market. These systems are designed to print a broad range of alloys, including reactive metals such as titanium and aluminum. This process enables the use of metal powders that are 80 percent lower cost than laser powder bed fusion metals, delivering parts at 1/20th the cost. The technology is being adopted by major Fortune 500 companies and initial systems will begin shipping commercially in Q1 2019.
In the plastic world, the majority of 3D printing is done by engineers in the office. The Studio System is the world’s first and only metal 3D printing system able to print and sinter parts in an office environment, delivering the same accessibility that product developers are accustomed. The Studio System is now shipping in volume and available through a global sales network of more than 85 sales partners in 48 countries.
“We are at a critical juncture in the advancement of metal 3D printing and additive manufacturing,” said Ric Fulop, CEO and co-founder of Desktop Metal. “We are excited about Koch being an investor, customer and capability provider in this round. This new funding will fuel the continued development of our metal 3D printing technology and rich product roadmap, the scaling of operations to meet a growing demand of orders, and the financing of major new research and development initiatives. Combined, this will set us on a trajectory to become a global leader in metal 3D printing, a key pillar of Industry 4.0.”
Early customers of the Studio System include: Ford, Stanley Black and Decker, Goodyear, 3M, Google’s ATAP, BMW, ProtoLabs, Owens Corning, L3, TerraPower, Medtronic, Continental AG, Applied Materials, TECT Aerospace, US Department of Defense, Department of Homeland Security, MITRE and leading educational institutions such as MIT, University of Texas, Texas A&M and Diman Regional Vocational Technical High School, the nation’s first high school to install a metal 3D printer.
Additional investors in the Series E funding round include GV (formerly Google Ventures), Panasonic, and Techtronic Industries, as well as previous venture capital investors in the company, including Lux Capital, New Enterprise Associates (NEA) and Kleiner Perkins.