Techstars co-founder Brad Feld sees promise in a 3D printing startup based in Somerville, Mass., even as consumer interest in the industry lags.
On Thursday, Formlabs announced that it raised an additional $35 million in funding, from investors including Feld's Foundry Group, as well as Autodesk, a software maker. The new round brings the 3D printer maker's total capital raised to $55 million.
Formlabs also announced a new partnership with Autodesk, to collaborate on software and marketing.
"People have stopped believing in the [3D printing] technology," Maxim Lobovsky, co-founder and CEO of Formlabs, told Inc. in a previous interview. "We want to get really high-end technology and put it in a footprint that's more accessible to people."
Feld says he will join the board of the four-year-old company, which today has more than 190 employees worldwide.
"Formlabs is the only company truly focused on creating powerful, accessible 3D printing technologies for professionals," Feld tells Inc. via email.
Formlabs printers, which start at $1,999, use stereolithography to print objects from the web. The company's new Form 2 machine, which launched last year, has the ability to print a diverse array of detailed pieces, from headphones to cavity fillings to sex toys. Users can choose from seven different materials ranging in durability. The Form 2 costs $3,499.
The 3D printing industry has wavered in recent years, as market leader MakerBot -- which was purchased by Stratasys for $403 million in 2014 -- faced two separate rounds of layoffs last year, and recently announced that it would be outsourcing its manufacturing to China.
Still, Feld sees Formlabs as leading a new wave of interest in 3D printing technology.
"In the past two years, 3D printing has gone through the classic Gartner Hype Cycle, bottoming out in the 'trough of disillusionment,'" Feld says. "While most eyes had been glued around the hype of consumer 3D printing, Formlabs went about building an entire new market in professional desktop 3D printing." He adds that he believes Formlabs can fill "an enormous void for a new market leader as we move into the Gartner Hype Cycle's 'slope of enlightenment.'"
Although Formlabs would not disclose revenue data, it says it ships more than 1,000 printers every month, growing sales by 100 percent each year.