Although 3D printing isn’t an entirely new technology, it is still trying to find its way into business and large-scale manufacturing applications. As such when most people think of spaceflight, 3D printing isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. Unless you’re Velo3D, the startup tasked with supplying 3D printers to the world’s most successful private space company, SpaceX.
On the heels of landing its biggest client to date, Velo3D has raised another $28 million in funding. The startup is chugging along and is well on its way to profitability.
Emerging Industry Leader
The world of 3D printing is still up for grabs. Companies like Ultimaker, Monoprice, and da Vinci have cemented themselves as major players in the home hobbyist 3D printing world. Most people can get satisfactory or even great results with a cheap 3D printer that costs under $200. However, the business manufacturing sector is entirely different. Rather than printing parts in plastic, many of these applications use metal alloys to additively manufacture strong, robust components.
That’s what Velo3D specializes in. Since the startup was founded in 2014, it has focused on metal composite 3D printing. Its custom printers and intuitive software have garnered support from major investors and corporate partners all around the world.
Velo3D’s CEO Benny Buller says, “We are creating the seeds with the first customers that are using our product and are transitioning parts to production using our manufacturing solution.”
The latest funding round of $28 million brings Velo3D’s total backing to $138 million. It says that the new capital will be used to expand its portfolio. This includes creating support for new alloys, enhanced hardware, and updates to its software.
Thanks to its latest cash injection, Velo3D is projecting that it will reach sustained profitability by mid-2022. That’s great news for the startup and its various investors.
Landing the Big One
While the new $28 million in funding is a nice boost for Velo3D, it is hardly what will carry it forward into the future. Its success more closely relates to its largest client—SpaceX. After landing one of the most technologically demanding contracts in the manufacturing world, Velo3D is helping the private spaceflight firm develop parts for its rockets.
Buller notes, “SpaceX has started using us for a specific component that they had very significant issues manufacturing that using existing techniques.”
He goes on to add, “SpaceX has been using 3D printing for production of engines… As they are designing the next generation engines from the starship… there were some components that they could not produce [and] over time they shifted more and more and more components to our system.”
The partnership with SpaceX could turn out to be very profitable for Velo3D in the years to come. The private space company shows no signs of slowing down. As it scales up its production (with a focus on reusability and decreasing costs) 3D printing could become an even larger part of its business model.
For Velo3D, the future is very bright. Thanks to its latest funding, the startup should be able to keep pushing forward without any major problems.