TECH

3D Printing Startup MakerBot Sold To StrataSys For $403M

20/06/2013 13:51 BST | Updated 20/08/2013 10:12 BST

MakerBot, which makes low-cost 3D printers aimed at the mass market, has been sold to an industrial printing company for $403 million.

MakerBot has sold only 22,000 printers since it was founded in 2009.

But it has built a strong reputation for innovative and forward-looking products, and with 3D printing seemingly constantly on the brink of mainstream adoption its value was judged many times its total revenue to date.

The company's Replicator 3 desktop 3D printer has sold 11,000 units in just nine months.

Stratasys bought the company so that it can compete in the mainstream 3D printer market, experts said.

On its blog MakerBot described the deal as a "merger" and said that its core values would remain the same as ever. Bre Pettis, CEO and co-founder of MakerBot, will continue to lead the company.

It said:

"MakerBot’s mission remains the same and will continue to operate as a separate subsidiary within Stratasys, once the transaction is complete.

The last few years have been incredibly inspiring and exciting for us. We have an aggressive model for growth. Partnering with Stratasys will allow us to supercharge our mission to empower individuals, and lead the Next Industrial Revolution.

We are excited about the opportunities this combination will bring to our current and future customers.

MakerBot is an innovation company. We innovate so others can innovate, and we believe 3D printing is fueling the Next Industrial Revolution. We have been a pioneer in desktop 3D printing – which provides affordable 3D printing access to individuals, from engineers, architects, designers, entrepreneurs and educators, in addition to hobbyists and makers."

Meanwhile Stratasys CEO David Reis said the focus would stay on user experience and producing products for the mainstream market.

"MakerBot’s 3D printers are rapidly being adopted by CAD-trained designers and engineers,. Bre Pettis and his team at MakerBot have built the strongest brand in the desktop 3D printer category by delivering an exceptional user experience. MakerBot has impressive products, and we believe that the company’s strategy of making 3D printing accessible and affordable will continue to drive adoption. I am looking forward to working with Bre."