Alongside companies like Porsche and Siemens, Microsoft was probably the most surprising company to participate in series C funding for 3-D printing startup, Markforged. The investment not only stands out as a rare occasion where Microsoft invested in a hardware company, but also marks the first time that it invested in a 3D-printing startup, indicating that is has a high level of confidence in the technology’s ability to impact the manufacturing sector.
Microsoft Venture typically invests in software-centric startups with specializations in emerging technologies like cloud computing. However, other actions, such as the introduction of the Paint 3D application on its Windows 10 platform, show its market interest for 3D modeling in the early stages of design.
The round, set at $30-million, raised a total capital of $57 million. The funding will be used for improving Marforge’s technology to lower the cost of printing carbon fiber, metals, and other materials.
“The composite business is profitable, and we are scaling at 300% year-over-year,” says Greg Mark, founder and CEO at Markforged. “We have an incredible product roadmap, and raised this round to help us bring these new printers to market even faster.”
Markforged has expressed plans to release a new desktop 3D printer that can produce metal parts in 2018. Currently, its printers are used in industry to create final metal parts and prototypes.