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3-D Printer Maker Lands $19 Million in First Venture Funds

Form 1 printer

Form 1 printer (Formlabs)

Formlabs, a developer of three-dimensional printing technology in Somerville, Massachusetts, secured $19 million in its first venture funding. The financing round was led by venture capital company DFJ, with Pitango Venture Capital, Innovation Endeavors, and returning angel investors.

Formlabs is a spin-off from MIT’s Media Lab, founded in 2011 by three engineers and designers. The company’s main product is the Form 1 printer based on a process called stereolithography that it says provides professional-grade results at a more affordable price. Pre-orders for the Form 1, with associated software and post-processing kit, are priced at about $3,300.

With stereolithography, a laser beam is directed on a thin surface layer of liquid resin that causes the resin to solidify. Subsequent layers of resin build the structure in fine levels of detail, according to the company. Most 3-D printers on the market, says Formlabs, use plastic extrusion methods that do not provide the same level of detail as stereolithography.

Some of Formlabs’ seed financing came from a Kickstarter campaign that raised $2.95 million from more than 2,000 contributors in 30 days in September and October 2012. The company says it already sold some 900 systems in pre-orders.

DFJ, in Menlo Park, California, invests in software, mobile, cleantech, energy,  and health care entrepreneurs, particulary in seed and early-growth stages. DFJ says it invested some $7 billion since 1985 in 400 companies, including Skype, SpaceX, Tesla Motors, SolarCity, Twitter, and Tumblr.

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Hat tip: Fortune/Term Sheet

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