botObjects acquired by 3D Systems and Rethink Robotics raises $26.6 million in Series D

botObjects cashes in on colorful innovation

On January 5, 3D Systems announced that they had acquired London-based botObjects, designers and manufacturers of the CubePro C, a color desktop 3D printer. When botObjects first announced the launch of their new printer in 2013, their claims of full-color 3D printing caused both excitement and disbelief in the additive manufacturing community. When the printer was finally revealed, botObject showed that it could achieve a color filament solution for PLA (plastic) extrusion using a five-color cartridge system. Each of the five filaments are a primary color (cyan, magenta, yellow, black and white) and by mixing in specific ratios (pre-deposition), the printer can print all the colors of the rainbow. It represents significant innovation beyond essentially open-source extrusion printing and is a good case study for value being created in the wake of Stratasys‘ original FDM patent expiration.

Although the recent acquisition of cloud-based 3D design and publishing startup, Lagoa, has yet to generate significant headlines (neither company have officially announced the deal on their respective websites), La Presse.ca  and Techvibes are reporting that the US CAD giant has paid $60-62 million for the young, Montreal-based Lagoa.

The deal represents another notable acquisition-exit for an advanced manufacturing service/software company.  Although the details of the deal and the previous venture-backed investment rounds are not available, I’ve gone through the exercise running some conservative estimates to better understand how the venture capital community should regard the transaction: