Irish firm gets €15m boost as it takes 3D-printing machine to global techfest
One of Europe's fastest-growing 3D printing firms, Louth-based MCor, is closing in on a new round of funding worth up to €15m, according to its chief executive.
Conor MacCormack, who is in Las Vegas at the Consumer Electronics Show to present the firm's ground-breaking 3D printing machine, said that the firm is currently working with a number of venture capitalists based in Silicon Valley.
"We'll use the money to scale," he said. "We're still a very small company. But it's absolutely flying. We did more business in November and December than the entire year previous to that. It's not a seasonal thing, we just scaled quickly."
MCor, which was founded by Mr MacCormack and his brother Fintan, is the only manufacturer of paper-based 3D-printing machines. Using paper as raw material rather than plastic powder significantly reduces the running costs, according to Mr MacCormack.
He said that the company's main customers include architects, engineers and universities. The company's main 3D-printing machine, launched in January 2013, costs $45,000 (€33,000).
"One of the reasons that investors are looking at us is because it's so much cheaper to run one of our machines than rival colour 3D-printing devices," said Mr McCormack. "There's also a much bigger awareness now of 3D printing, partially thanks to consumer and hobbyist machines such as Makerbot."
MCor previously received funding of €2m from what Mr MacCormack described as "high net worth individuals".
Three-D printing is the process of constructing objects by uploading detailed images to a machine, which then creates a product using thousands of layers of broken-down material. While the practice has become popular with craft-makers and hobbyists, it is also a growing business activity for engineers and manufacturers who want more control over parts and products they produce.
Mr MacCormack is one of a small number of Irish businesses attending this year's Consumer Electronics Show (CES). The show, which measures about 35 Croke Parks in floor area, is expected to attract 150,000 people from the world's biggest technology companies.
The event takes place against the threat of a fall in consumer spending on technology over the next 12 months. CES's director of industry analysis, Steve Koenig, said that people will spend €10bn less on technology in 2014 than they did in 2013.
Elsewhere in the show, computer manufacturers showed off new 'converged' devices that attempt to bring traditional PCs closer to tablet computers. 'Wearable technology' is also a strong theme this year, with hundreds of firms showcasing fitness gadgets, wristbands and web-connected clothing.
High-end '4K' television has dominated audio visual categories at this year's conference, with all major manufacturers launching a range of 'ultra high definition' TV sets.
Panasonic's deputy managing director for marketing in Europe, Michikazu Matsushita, said that the electronics giant was already starting to prepare for '8K' content streams. He said that Panasonic was one of a small number of companies to support 4K video production from camera to television set.
The only major absentee from CES is Apple, which does not showcase new products outside its own conferences.