Citing official ICON sources, TechCrunch has exclusively revealed that the US-based construction 3D printing company, has raised an additional $185 million in a round led by Tiger Global Management. The financing said to be an extension of ICON’s $207 million Series B that was announced last August, brings the company to nearly $2 billion in valuation in a rapidly growing 3DCP (3D construction printing) segment.
An ICON spokesperson confirmed TechCrunch via e-mail that “We are excited for the opportunity to continue partnering with world-class investors, board members and organizations at every level.”
Previous backers include Norwest Venture Partners, 8VC, Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG), BOND, Citi Crosstimbers, Ensemble, Fifth Wall, LENx, Moderne Ventures and Oakhouse Partners, among others. It is not clear which of those investors also participated in this extension. With the latest financing, ICON has now raised a total of $451 million in equity.
While ICON is primarily active as a service and technology provider in North America (US and Mexico) several other companies are bringing construction 3D printing to many sites all over the world. Among these, the current market leader in terms of hardware installed base is COBOD. The Danish company has already achieved profitability, along with rapid growth rates, by selling its 3D construction printers to customers involved in many different projects across Europe, North America and Africa.
With more direct involvement from construction giants such as Holcim, Cemex, PERI and GE, the 3D construction printing (3DCP) industry is now moving from being a very promising, yet very immature business segment to a more professionalized and industrialized sector.
As a consequence, the application of this technology is no longer being pursued by start-ups, dreamers and innovative entrepreneurial minds wanting to disrupt the construction industry, but also by more and more serious and large cement, concrete and construction companies, along with real estate developers. These large players are now turning to AM technologies for solving some of the burning issues for the market: skyrocketing prices of input materials (including wood), decades of stagnating productivity, lack of skilled workforce, insufficient industry output to cover the needs of the operators, etc.
Hence, we are seeing more and more signs that 3DCP technology will indeed disrupt the industry. Not only in the US and not only within the housing segment but on a global scale and also for more business/industrial applications. Examples include offices, windmills, infrastructure, and EPC applications such as those for large oil, gas and fertilizer plants.
Due to this and the multi-trillion-dollar size of the worldwide construction market, valuations of companies in the industry have exploded and sometimes resemble the hyped-up valuation of IT companies, with investors betting on these company’s ability to effectively scale up their businesses through increased automation.
With the promise of changing the construction industry forever, 3DCP companies targeting to be part of just 1% of the global construction would be looking at multi-billion dollars returns.