3D printing is hands down the most exciting space in the contemporary tech scene. In a city of underdogs, the 3D printing outfits are the most underdog of all. Also, they’ve got cool hardware, just try Makerbot.
But hold on, because Shapeways isn’t just another 3D printing company. Sure, their business works by printing out customer submitted design. They’re also based in the Netherlands. This geographic difference isn’t going to keep Shapeways from changing in a big way though thanks to a generous funding round led by Index Ventures and Union Square Ventures.
Totaling a hefty $5.1 million, Shapeways will impact NYC by setting up shop here. Not really a branch office since Shapeways have been present locally since 2010, but more like a production facility. This move is being interpreted as an expansion to the U.S. market where Shapeways customers now have an East Coast based hub for their 3D printed stuff. Another cool aspect about the Shapeways experience is they print up to 25 different materials, including stainless steel. The move to America was featured in a recent Shapeways blog post that read:
Since establishing our headquarters in NY in late 2010, we’ve had amazing growth. We grew our NYC office to 19 people, and we expect to double by mid-2012. Our community grew to 100,000 Shapies, for whom we currently make 30,000 unique items per month. With over 300,000 products on Shapeways, we have become the largest marketplace for printable 3D designs.