In 2015, Silicon-Valley based Carbon, known then as Carbon3D, introduced their proprietary method for 3D printing which was 25-100 times faster than competitors. Their Continuous Liquid Interface Production (CLIP) method employs light and oxygen, which interact with a photosensitive resin to create a finished product. Compared with many additive manufacturing methods which call for layer-by-layer printing which produces a relatively weak structure, the introduction of oxygen allows for a photochemical process that can be done quickly and with a sturdier result.
Sequoia Capital, a renowned venture capital firm, understood the ramification of Carbon’s revolutionary process, and funding was secured incrementally and somewhat secretively.
“If 3D printing hopes to break out of the prototyping niche it has been trapped in for decades, we need to find a disruptive technology that attacks the problem from a fresh perspective and addresses 3D printing’s fundamental weaknesses,” said Jim Goetz, Carbon board member and Sequoia partner.
When we met [Carbon founder] Joe [DeSimone] and saw what his team had invented, it was immediately clear to us that 3D printing would never be the same.
It seems that the word is officially out. Carbon is now far from a secret, and plenty of heavyweights have hopped onto the CLIP bandwagon. Even as they work to perfect and promote their CLIP technology, Carbon has continued to innovate, releasing its SpeedCell 3D printer while continuing to innovate and secure additional funding. They have thus far operated on a subscription model, catering its products to the wants of its customers while offering one-on-one interaction.
Their latest round of funding – which netted $200 million – appears to indicate that Carbon’s products may soon become ubiquitous. With significant investment from the likes of GE, Adidas’ Hyrda Ventures, and a number of global financial institutions, Carbon is no longer a run-of-the-mill startup. They offer a completely original, superior form of additive manufacturing which is able to provide a finished product without the need for additional augmentation, and industry leaders have taken notice and given the ultimate co-sign: cash.