Glowforge, a once secretive hardware-and-software company founded by startup veteran Dan Shapiro, has raised $1.265 million to build what it calls “the first 3D laser printer.”
In a new filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Glowforge indicates it’s raised the funds from 31 investors. None of the investors are named in the SEC Form D, but we reached out to Shapiro, who told GeekWire a few of the new participants include Greg McAdoo (Sequoia, Isilon, AirBnB), Kristen Hamilton (Onvia, Koru), and Elan Lee (Exploding Kittens).
Back in November, Shapiro had partnered with Seattle startup veterans Tony Wright (founder of RescueTime, Jobby and CubeDuel) and Mark Gosselin (founder and former CTO of Cequint) to co-found Glowforge. Shapiro himself was most recently known for the hit kid’s board game Robot Turtles, and before that Ontela and Sparkbuy. At the time, Glowforge had raised $500,000 in angel financing.
“We originally planned to self-fund the company, but when some of the entrepreneurs we most admire asked be involved, we decided to open a small round to let them participate,” Shapiro says. “We set a hard cap at $1M and weren’t planning on raising even that much. Then incredible people started coming out of the woodwork and getting really excited about what we’re doing.”
The SEC filing lists a $2M cap on the offering, but Shapiro says, “We’re not planning to raise the rest of the allocated money as we have enough to get us to the next stage. We don’t think we’re going to be bringing in any more angels on this round – but I’m not going to say never as I’ve been wrong twice already!”
What’s Glowforge making in its SoDo HQ? It’s a “cloud-based consumer desktop laser cutter,” what Shapiro has described as “the great-great-grandfather of the Star Trek replicator.” The price is anticipated to be around $2,000. While that’s not exactly Robot Turtles-consumer level pricing, it is said to be much cheaper than what’s now on the market, and will come with easy-to-operate software. Laser cutters are already popular tools at, among other places, makerspaces.
Shapiro says the proceeds of the offering will be used to hire “some incredible engineers, which is our biggest area of investment going forward.” To date, he adds, Glowforge’s biggest investment has been an $80,000, seven-ton Haas VF-4 milling machine used for prototyping, nicknamed “Millie.”
Shapiro earlier said his love of hardware was rekindled after building the Robot Turtles board game. “It’s absolutely magical to make real, tangible things, and I deeply miss doing that,” he told GeekWire last year. “It’s incredibly difficult to make things, and I would love to make that process more accessible to everyone.”
Now, he says, “The vision of a machine that creates beautiful things at the push of a button has resonated even more than we’d hoped.”