CEO Randy Altschuler knows what it takes to build a successful tech business and when he jumps into a new venture, people pay attention.
Between 2000 and 2008, Altschuler co-founded two East Coast-based companies that would ultimately be sold with big price tags attached to corporate giants. OfficeTiger, founded in 2000 and acquired in 2006, pulling in $250 million from R.R. Donnelley, is a Harvard Business School case study. E-Waste recycling firm CloudBlue, for which he was chairman, was acquired by Ingram Micro (IM) for an undisclosed fee.
Today, Altschuler’s newest venture is called Xometry, and it plays in the customizable, 3D printing-centric, on-demand manufacturing industry.
Launched in late 2013, 50-person Xometry opened a new office earlier this week in Bethesda, Md. By the end of 2016, they plan to double in headcount, with a particular focus on software development and marketing.
To date, Xometry has raised $16 million from private investors. In October, the Bethesda company raised $8.8 million led by Highland Capital Partners. At present, roughly 16,000 companies are customers of Xometry.
In an interview with DC Inno, Altschuler explained that Xometry’s business is two-fold, as they’ve built an “online interface that acts as an easy-to-use custom manufacturing hub.”
The company is the developer of a software platform, as Altschuler mentions, to streamline manufacturing orders and also the owner of a high-tech manufacturing facility—capable of CNC machining, direct metal laser sintering and metal binder jetting, among other things. Every day, the factory completes orders for anyone from startups with a Kickstarter to Fortune 500 brands.
Past Xometry customers include NASA, Raytheon, P&G, General Electric and Toyota.
By pursuing these two services, Xometry is tapping into critical in-demand areas: small batch manufacturing (several thousands of units)—ideal for limited product releases or customers on a constrained budget—and by producing an all-in-one ordering dashboard that looks more attune to Amazon than a clunky Linux prompt.
Currently, for a company to complete a production order for just a few thousand units, Altschuler described a largely manual and frustrating process that is neither convenient nor transparent, a process Xometry hopes to change. Across the U.S., tens of thousands of different producers each specialize in crafting specific types of products and carry different raw materials. The challenge is in bringing it all together in a clear and concise manner, or in this case an online ordering dashboard, so that customers can quickly get a price quote while also understanding what they are receiving.
“Whether you are a Fortune 100 company or a startup, you receive instant pricing and expert recommendations just by uploading a 3D-CAD file. It’s the same process whether you need a CNC Machining solution, 3D-printed part or Urethane casting. In the past, in order to build a custom part, it took considerable time to figure out the manufacturability and pricing. We simplify the process and help ensure you get the parts you need at a low cost,” Altschuler explained.
For customers entering in a design/schematic (3D-CAD file) into the system for a unit they need manufactured, Xometry will produce some suggestions based on what criteria is selected by the user. Dependent on what the customer values most in their product, whether it be a low price, specific material or quick turnaround, the software will produce different recommendations on how to move forward.
Xometry’s executive team told DC Inno that the underlying goal or mission of the company is to bring the core, U.S. factory-based manufacturing industry through a “digital transformation”—much in the same way that retail immigrated online over the last decade.
“Opening up the Bethesda office is a key part of our growth plan and supports our recent rapid trajectory. We were outgrowing our Gaithersburg facility and have plans to double our team this year, especially in Development and Marketing. We’re dedicated to building a world-class team and having an additional office location closer to the DC downtown area will help achieve that goal,” said Altschuler.
In the future, Xometry hopes their software platform can scale out, becoming an industry standard of sorts.
“The more innovative the U.S. manufacturing industry can be, the more we can meet the needs of American businesses and help them drive their own innovation in their own categories. We see Manufacturing as a Service as a key growth opportunity for the industry,” Altschuler concluded.