Can they make it? 10 European 3D printing startups to watch

Once a niche activity for hardcore 'makers', 3D printing is now being democratised by big companies and scores of startups. Charmaine Li identifies 10 interesting European companies in this space.
Can they make it? 10 European 3D printing startups to watch

From splints used in surgery to a flowing plastic dress, we live in an age where 3D printing is appearing and handling the most unlikely aspects of our lives. Although the practical applications of this realm are still in progress, more and more companies are coming up and tackling 3D printing from all angles.

A report from 2013 predicted that Europe would become the global leader in 3D printing by 2020. With Belgian 3D printing tech company Materialise going public last year and Ireland's Mcor Technologies topping a list of 'Top 10 3D printing companies that raised the most capital in 2014', the future is looking pretty rosy for the region.

As 3D printing continues to gain momentum and take shape, we thought it was a good time to highlight European startups popping up in the landscape (in no particular order):

1) Mcor Technologies 

mcorHeadquarters: Dunleer, Ireland

Gist: Established in 2004, Mcor Technologies builds 3D printers that uses standard office paper instead of traditional material like filament. It positions its products as low-cost and eco-friendly. In 2014, the company announced $32 million funding in two separate rounds.

2) 3D Hubs

3d hubsHeadquarters: Amsterdam, The Netherlands / New York, US

Gist: Founded in 2013 by two former 3D Systems employees and based in Amsterdam, 3D Hubs an online platform that lets users find and connect to 3D printers nearby. Backed to the tune of $4.5 million in funding, 3D Hubs is currently made up of 14,000 printing locations across the globe.

3) Sculpteo

SculpteoHeadquarters: Issey-les-Moulineaux, France

Gist: Launched in 2009, Sculpteo provides online 3D printing services that lets individuals and businesses upload designs to be printed through its 3D printing factory just outside of Paris. It announced a €5 million funding round earlier this month.

4) CGTrader

cgtraderHeadquarters: Vilnius, Lithuania

Gist: Backed by Intel Capital, CGTrader offers an online marketplace that connects 3D designers with buyers of 3D model designs, with a particular emphasis on computer graphics and 3D printing. The company was founded in 2011 by Marius Kalytis.

5) Stilnest

stilnestHeadquarters: Berlin, Germany

Gist: Operating as a brand of German printing material distributor Spontaneous Order, Stilnest is a curated marketplace for 3D-printed designer jewelry. Founded in 2013, the company announced a $1 million investment in August 2014.

6) Zortrax

zortraxHeadquarters: Olsztyn, Poland

Gist: Launched in 2013, Zortrax manufactures 3D printers for SMBs and freelancers with a focus on architects, industrial manufacturers and scientists. In January 2014, it was announced that Dell placed an order for 5,000 printers from the Polish startup.

7) Something3D

Something3dHeadquarters: Israel

Gist: Something3D is company building desktop 3D printers with the aim of putting a 3D printer in every home in Israel. In February 2015, the company announced a 'full colour' 3D desktop printer that goes for $7350 a pop.

8) BigRep

birrepHeadquarters: Berlin, Germany

Gist: Founded in 2014, BigRep is a startup that has developed a 3D printer that can print objects like furniture at a 1:1 scale . Its BigRep ONE.2 printer has a 1m³ volume, which the company says is "27 times the volume of a large desktop 3D printer".

9) Leapfrog

leapfrogHeadquarters: Alphen aan den Rijn, The Netherlands

Gist: Founded in 2012, Leapfrog 3D printers is a builder of desktop and professional 3D printers with a focus on the segment of schools and mechanical engineers. In January 2015, it teamed up with Belgian 3D printing pioneer Materialise to roll out a desktop 3D printing software product.

10) Trinckle

trinckleHeadquarters: Hennigsdorf, Germany

Gist: Founded in 2013, Trinckle offers a marketplace for users to discover new  products, an online 3D printing service as well as a platform for designers/makers to present their creations.

Know any others? The comment floor is yours.

READ MORE: A look inside Materialise, the Belgian company 3D printing its way into the future of everything

Featured image credit: Stefano Tinti /

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