Less than a year after 3D Hubs turned five and outlined its new strategy to become “a full-blown manufacturing platform,” the company turned away from its community 3D printing roots and announced that it would only be working with professional service bureaus to fulfill orders. This meant that if community members didn’t qualify as a Manufacturing Partner based on their order history, they were out of luck, as the company was becoming completely focused on B2B.
“2018 was the year in which we turned 3D Hubs from a 3D printing peer-to-peer marketplace into a B2B platform for all digital production, taking pivotal steps towards our automated and distributed manufacturing mission,” 3D Hubs CEO and Co-Founder Bram de Zwart wrote in a biannual update to his LinkedIn contacts.
“Since 3D Hubs had become the world’s largest peer-to-peer marketplace for 3D printing, it was a dificult decision in early 2018 to transition to a turnkey B2B manufacturing platform and even harder to pull it off. But with last years’ revenue tripling and $18 Million in new funding we couldn’t be more excited about this new strategy and 3D Hubs its future!”
While there were obviously a lot of hurt feelings in the wake of this announcement, the company seems to be doing pretty well for itself after this decision. Yesterday, 3D Hubs announced that it had received $18 million in Series C funding, which will be used to help “build the future of on-demand manufacturing” and increase development of its online platform, among other important things.
One item the funds will be used for is rapidly expanding its team in the US, which is the company’s largest market with over 10,000 clients. So 3D Hubs will be opening a dedicated US office to best serve these customers, and is now trying to determine where the office will be located.
“For the new office location we’re currently deciding between Chicago, Minneapolis and Boston, cities that are deeply rooted in manufacturing and have great connectivity to the rest of the country and to Amsterdam,” de Zwart wrote.
Speaking of Amsterdam, 3D Hubs will be expanding its team there, and in the US, over the next few months. In an effort to grow from 65 employees to over 100, the company is currently hiring for a number of positions, including Business Develop Representative and Director of Sales.
3D Hubs made a lot of investments last year in automating some of the most important manufacturing process features, such as design validation, quoting, and smart order routing. Now, leveraging the data from 2 million produced parts, the company’s platform can instantly provide accurate quotes for 98% of its customer requests for services such as CNC machining, injection molding, and 3D printing. In addition, 93% of its order are automatically sourced through the supplier network, so that customers receive their parts twice as fast.
3D Hubs also expanded its popular quarterly trend report by including industry specials. For instance, the Q1 2019 edition takes a look at how the automotive industry is adopting digital manufacturing.
The company is also helping to educate the rest of the world about digital manufacturing, and has been busy developing new content that can better explain the benefits of this technology, and how best to design for digital manufacturing.
In fact, one of the recent efforts is actually working to turn some of the chapters in the company’s 3D printing handbook, which was published in 2017, into helpful video tutorials on its YouTube channel.
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[Images: 3D Hubs]