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UPDATE 2-3D printer Formlabs doubles valuation after SoftBank fund-led investment round

(Adds CEO comments, details of funding round, company background)

May 19 (Reuters) - Formlabs, a 3D printing company, said on Wednesday it had doubled its valuation to $2 billion, following a $150 million funding round led by SoftBank Group’s Vision Fund 2.

The move brings Formlabs’ total raised funding to over $250 million and marks SoftBank’s first bet on 3D printing, a market that analysts estimate will grow to $34.8 billion by 2024. At least three companies from the sector have agreed to go public through blank-check mergers in the past nine months.

Founded in 2011, Somerville, Massachusetts-based Formlabs designs and manufactures 3D printing systems, serving customers across industries such as Alphabet Inc’s Google, Mayo Clinic and New Balance. The company said it recorded $46 million in revenue in the first quarter, about half of which comes from outside the United States.

The new funds will be used to increase its product lines, expand into new regions and pursue acquisitions, Chief Executive Max Lobovsky said in an interview.

Lobovsky said despite receiving multiple offers from special-purpose acquisition companies (SPACs), he has no imminent plan to take the company public.

“Even though we’re larger than a number of public 3D printing companies, we still felt that we should be larger and more mature before we consider going public,” he said. “This round definitely lets us take our time and get ready to be an excellent public company.”

The company’s products have been used to print more than 85 million parts, it said, including tens of millions of nasal swabs used for the collection of samples for COVID-19 testing.

Deep Nishar, senior managing partner at SoftBank Investment Advisers, will join Formlabs’ board and Kirthiga Reddy, an investment partner at the fund manager, will join as a board observer, the company said.

Formlabs was last valued at over $1 billion when it raised $15 million in funding from New Enterprise Associates (NEA) in August 2018. (Reporting by Niket Nishant in Bengaluru and Krystal Hu in New York Editing by Ramakrishnan M. and Matthew Lewis)

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