Glowforge Raises $22M to Grow Laser Cutter Business

Xconomy Seattle — 

Glowforge, the Seattle company that raked in $27.9 million in pre-orders for its consumer-grade laser cutter and engraver, has raised $22 million in venture capital.

The Series B investment, announced Monday, was led by Foundry Group and True Ventures, co-leaders of the company’s $9 million Series A funding round in May 2015.

Glowforge is taking advantage of cloud computing, cameras, and other sensors and components that have become less expensive, thanks to the proliferation of smartphones. Its goal is to build a laser cutter that’s easier to use and cheaper than competitors, and thereby appealing to a mass audience. The latest investment can be read as a bet on just how big that audience may prove to be.

“With this financing, we can deliver not just an amazing product to the people who’ve ordered it already, but we can scale up our American assembly line to make this available to schools, homes, and businesses around the world,” says Glowforge co-founder and CEO Dan Shapiro in a news release.

Re-designing a complex piece of hardware with a laser at its center has not been without difficulty.

I was one of the thousands of people who pre-ordered a Glowforge during a 30-day crowdfunding campaign the company launched last September. The nearly $28 million raised made it one of the most successful campaigns of its kind.

In April, Glowforge delayed shipments of the pre-order units, citing difficulties in procuring a bespoke power supply component that could meet the demands of the fast-cycling laser. The company is sticking to its plan to begin shipping pre-ordered laser cutters in December.

Glowforge has promised its pre-order customers a combination of credits redeemable for premium designs from its catalogue, and materials from its Proofgrade brand. These materials are marked with a machine-readable code that promises to calibrate the Glowforge to make precise cuts and engravings.

The 33-person company also has some 20 job openings.