Here at Shapeways, we’re working hard to bring to life our saying, “Personalized products, for you and by you.” Since our launch over 3 years ago, we’ve expanded the definition of “you” so that everyone can now create their own products. We’ve launched a marketplace of over 3,500 shops where designers can share their products with the world, and built tools to help people personalize, and even create, the stuff in their lives. By providing a platform for our community to share ideas and gain access to cutting edge 3D printing technology, we’re bringing personalized production to everyone.

Since establishing our headquarters in NY in late 2010, we’ve had amazing growth. We grew our NYC office to 19 people, and we expect to double by mid-2012. Our community grew to 100,000 Shapies, for whom we currently make 30,000 unique items per month. With over 300,000 products on Shapeways, we have become the largest marketplace for printable 3D designs. Our technology keeps getting better, and we’ve introduced incredible materials that match the quality of traditional manufacturing, such as glazed ceramics, polished nylon, and silver. We offer by far the widest range of 3D printing processes to a growing market of creators of all stripes.

What we’re doing is still quite new (dare I say revolutionary?), and we’re working to solve three core challenges. We want to make it easier for everyone to make anything. We want to make it more affordable. And we want to make it faster, and faster.

So it is with great excitement that we announce a major stride toward solving these challenges: Shapeways is going to open up its own production facility in NYC in 2012.

Local production means that shipping times will become a lot shorter and that shipping costs will decrease, making 3D printing faster and more affordable. We started our own production in Eindhoven this past February, and by laying the groundwork for a state of the art production facility in NYC, we’re taking the next step to grow a global, decentralized personalized production network — in other words, we hope to continue to drive down costs and shipping times. Having NYC production will enable us to create a hub for learning, making 3D printing more tangible and accessible. We are thrilled to infuse the NY start-up scene with technology that truly bridges the digital and physical worlds. All the while, we reduce waste by producing locally.

Democratizing production is no easy feat, and we need all the help we can get. We’re growing our team of passionate, creative Shapies. Especially if you have a background in 3D printing, computer science, manufacturing, supply chain or logistics, we are hiring!

To help us realize our vision, we are very grateful to have the support of the NYC Investment Fund, which has committed to a loan of $1.2 M, as well as follow on financing of $5.1 M from our current investors at Union Square Ventures and Index Ventures.

We see a future in which Shapeways can help you make anything you want, a future in which you no longer just click and buy, but actually take part in the creation process. We’re thrilled to help transform NYC into the global hub for personalized production. Welcome to the future of stuff.

Happy making,
Pete and the Shapeways Team