Netherlands-based 3D Hubs is continuing its global expansion. After announcing a new American headquarters in May 2019, the company has revealed it will be emerging into the French market with backing from iPod inventor Tony Fadell, who now heads the Future Shape investment firm. As part of the expansion, 3D Hubs will open new offices in France’s capital, Paris.
Over the past year, 3D Hubs has had something of a reinvention. Once a popular peer-to-peer 3D printing service, the company deliberately transitioned to focus to the professional market. The news, which certainly ruffled some feathers when it was announced in September 2019, seems to have somewhat paid off for the company, which raised $18 million in a Series C funding round in March 2019 and grew its operations in the U.S.
Today, 3D Hubs provides access to on-demand professional production through a global network of manufacturing partners. This means that users have to simply upload a design, select a production process and 3D Hubs will generate quotes and enable the user to select their preferred production option. The smart platform has been used by many across the manufacturing industry, including NASA, Toyota and ABB, both for prototyping and low-volume production.
By furthering its footprint in the European market and in France specifically, the Dutch company believes it will strengthen and increase productivity for French startups and businesses. The overall goal is to promote the modernization and digitization of manufacturing within France, which is Europe’s third largest manufacturing economy.
Fadell, the American engineer most famous for inventing the iPad and co-inventor of the iPhone, is supporting 3D Hubs in this venture through his company Future Shape. Fadell is also the founder of Nest, a company which pioneered a smart thermostat.
“3D Hubs would have been an essential resource when we were building the iPod, the iPhone, and Nest,” Fadell said. “Instead of waiting weeks to get back models and prototypes, now with 3D Hubs’ crucial online prototyping and manufacturing platform, engineers and designers can turn ideas into objects in only a few days, with precision 3D printed, CNC’d, or injection molded parts, and even move straight into volume manufacturing.”