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Glowforge Raises VC To Bring Laser Cutter-Engraver to Consumers

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Glowforge Inc. has raised $9 million in venture capital to bring a versatile laser cutting and engraving system to the consumer market this year.

The funding round was led by Foundry Group of Boulder, Colo., and True Ventures of San Francisco, with participation from Bre Pettis, cofounder and former CEO of desktop 3-D printer manufacturer MakerBot Industries LLC, and Jenny Lawton, former CEO of MakerBot. The cash infusion will allow Glowforge to hire new mechanical, electrical and software engineers.

An early prototype of the Glowforge system. Courtesy of Glowforge Inc.
The company said its device, also called Glowforge, combines laser cutting and engraving technology with cloud software and smartphone sensors to allow creators to move directly from design to small-scale production. The system is compatible with design software like Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, Inkscape and Autocad.

Unlike 3-D printers that slowly build up objects out of plastic strands, the Glowforge uses a laser to cut and etch products out of materials such as wood, leather, foam, paper and fabric. Examples of objects it can create include custom leather satchels, unique jewelry, distinctive hardwood light fixtures and decorative smartphone engravings.

"The Glowforge is so simple that my kids dash over to make a toy and are playing with the results minutes later," said Glowforge cofounder and CEO Dan Shapiro. "Yet it's powerful and precise enough that designers, engineers and architects can create finished products that are higher quality than what you’d find in a store."

The system is expected to be commercially available for purchase in late 2015 for less than $2500.

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Photonics Spectra
Aug 2015
BusinessAmericasWashingtonSeattleGlowforgelasersmaterials processingConsumerlight speed

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