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Hi, I’m Brad Feld, a managing director at the Foundry Group who lives in Boulder, Colorado. I invest in software and Internet companies around the US, run marathons and read a lot.

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Foundry Group Invests In MakerBot Industries

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Today we announced that we’ve led a $10m round for MakerBot Industries and I’ve joined the board. I’m super excited to be working with Bre Pettis, Adam Mayer, Zach Smith, and the rest of the MakerBot gang to create consumer-grade 3D printers.

When I first met Bre, Adam, and Zach at the Botcave in Brooklyn, it was love at first sight for me. The entry way to the BotCave has a series of Thing-O-Matics (the current MakerBot 3D printer) printing out all kinds of things. A display space of 3D things sits next to a vending machine with 3D parts in it, which all open up into a warehouse space full of tiny little parts neatly arranged and being put together in kits to be shipped. At the back were a bunch of people banging away on computers.

I took a deep breath and at that moment thought “I have to invest in this company.” I spent a few hours with Bre, Adam, and Zach and came away even more excited. I knew I had a massive nerd crush on them, but I also felt like if anyone was going to create a self-replicating machine that my father would buy, these were the guys. It’s well known by now that I believe the machines have already taken over – investing in MakerBot seems like another way to help them out.

Fortunately my partners loved the MakerBot gang as much as I did. But, rather than just theorize, I bought a MakerBot Thing-O-Matic and Jason, Ross, and I put it together. It’s been busy printing out all kinds of things for the past few months. The day we signed the term sheet, I made some Foundry Group coins (with the Foundry Group logo on the front and a $ on the back) and fedexed them to Bre. I wonder what he’ll make and send back to me now that we are investors.

I believe that we’ll look back in 20 years and 3D printers will be as ubiquitous as laser printers are today. We aren’t yet at the point that is equivalent to the first HP Laserjet in 1984, but I think we’ll see a comparable product from MakerBot within a year. In the mean time, I’m going to keep downloading 3D things from the Thingiverse and keeping my Thing-O-Matic busy.

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