3D Hubs’ Crowdsource Project Backed By London VC Firm (VentureBeat.com)

In case 3D printing wasn’t heading to the mainstream soon enough, high-end estimates have the industry generating a half-trillion dollars in revenue in the next decade or so. In an effort to capitalize on the early entrance to the already booming market, Balderton Capitol has just backed 3D Hubs’ crowdsourcing effort to create a worldwide network of 3D printers. The project would allow folks to find and use a local printer, send their request to print, pay a small additional fee for the service, then pick up the items instead of waiting for shipping. (This would also keep the “little guys” viable as Staples and UPS Stores have also tossed their hats into the 3D printing ring.)

I think far more people would be interested in 3D printing if they had a local resource to answer questions directly and build a rapport with. Plus, that substantially lowers the cost of an initial investment into the marketplace. “Try before you buy.”

******************************

Balderton Capital backs crowdsourced 3D printing network 3D Hubs

Balderton Capital backs crowdsourced 3D printing network 3D Hubs

London-headquartered VC firm Balderton Capital is betting on popular demand for 3D printing with a seed-stage investment in 3D printing network 3D Hubs.

The rate of growth for 3D printing is tremendous. About 23,000 printers were sold in 2011, according to a recent McKinsey report, which is up 300% in average annual growth since 2007. The industry as a whole could have an economic impact of $230-$550 billion per year by 2025.

3D Hubs, a six-person team based in Amsterdam, is building a global network that connects people who want to print with 3D printer owners. Here’s how it works: 3D printer owners sign up to be listed on their local “Hub”, which sets its own price per print plus material used. 3D Hubs performs a quality check for each uploaded digital model, delivers the order and processes the payment. It adds a 15% charge on top of the quoted price for each print.

The community aspect is a big part of 3D Hubs’ offer — unlike centralized services, customers know they’re supporting local makers and can pick up prints rather than wait for them to be shipped. Expansion follows supply and demand, with cities “unlocked” once a certain number of printers become available. The network currently spans over 500 printer locations in cities including London, Amsterdam, Berlin, Antwerp and Copenhagen.

Other options for those without a 3D printer to call their own include Shapeways, an online marketplace for making, buying and selling 3D printed products that ships anywhere in the world. Staples in the Netherlands and UPS in the US, also plan to offer on-demand 3D printing services.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: