3D Hubs and Protolabs join forces to create the world’s largest digital manufacturing offering

Today we are proud to announce the acquisition of our portfolio company, 3D Hubs, by Protolabs for $280 million to be funded with cash on hand and equity at close, and up to an additional $50 million of contingent consideration.

Protolabs, with a market cap of $4.5bn, is the world’s fastest manufacturing service for custom parts, and the merger, the largest transaction ever in online manufacturing, will create the world’s most comprehensive manufacturing portfolio.

When we first met Bram and Brian, back in 2013, they were still busy with their day-jobs. They immediately impressed us with their vision for distributed, on-demand manufacturing: the business idea that came to be called 3D Hubs. We invited them to join the program, they quit their day jobs, and started serving their first customers by delivering their 3D prints across Amsterdam, by bike. Due to their talent, focus and discipline, the founders got the maximum out of the program and the Rockstart network. In just three months, they drafted a creative “unlock your city” marketing plan, honed their business model and during and after Demo Day we introduced them to their first investors, including Balderton Capital and Stichting Doen. Years later we introduced them to EQT, who led their series B.

They have grown the business from humble beginnings to be a worldwide network of manufacturers that has enabled over 123.000 engineers to produce 6.000.000 parts, and which is still growing rapidly.

We’re very proud to have been a part of the journey and want to congratulate Bram, Brian, Filemon, and the rest of the 3D Hubs team on this major milestone. We wish them all the best on the next steps in their mission to revolutionise the global manufacturing industry.

It’s the success of businesses like 3D Hubs that have inspired us to develop our larger EUR20+ million accelerator-fund strategy in 2017 to continue to support and invest in companies up until series B, rather than just during the accelerator program.

After successfully closing the €18 million AgriFood fund (2019) and €21 million Energy fund (2020), we have now started to fundraise for our €20+ million Emerging Technologies funds, operating in both Europe and Latin-America. With several commitments to the funds already, we expect both to be up and running approximately a year from now.

This announcement of the acquisition of 3D Hubs comes only months after the exit of iClinic to Afya limited for almost €28m. iClinic was also a portfolio company from our Class of 2013. These exits contribute to an expected pre-tax return to investors of between 7x and 8x.

Read the full official 3DHubs blog post here.