European tech investor Balderton Capital has led a £2.73 million funding round into 3D Hubs in a bid to help the company expand its online platform, which connects the owners of 3D printers with people who want to 3D print.

Since launching in August 2013, the Amsterdam-headquartered startup claims to have become the world’s largest and fastest growing network of 3D printers, with over 7,000 print locations in 140 different countries. It also claims that 30,000 prints have been done over its service in the last year and that its network now allows over a billion people to access a 3D printer within 10 miles of their home.

In order to use the service, one simply chooses their area, uploads a model, and asks for a quote. The owner of the 3D printer then prints the object and gets it to recipient via post or sneaker net.

The startup, which has partnered with 3D software designer Autodesk and smartphone case maker Fairphone, will receive a large chunk of the money out of Balderton Capital's £185 million tech investment fund, which was announced in April. 

Balderton Capital partner Mark Evans will join the 3D Hubs board. He said: "3DHubs are building a marketplace that we believe will have a radical impact on the way production and manufacturing is done in the near future.

"The team have proven that 3D printing is moving beyond the garages of enthusiasts and is now a tool available to mass consumers, and they've done this by working with and enabling the growing community of printers, creating a truly collaborative platform for creating new products."

3D Hubs CEO and co-founder Bram de Zwart said: “We raised this round to accelerate growth with a view to running all global 3D print jobs through our network, hereby propelling the world into the next industrial revolution, a world in which products are made locally and tailored to the individual, suiting personal needs as opposed to the average one-size-fits-all philosophy.

“Powered by real human service, availability is on-demand with sub 48 hour production and delivery times, and an ever evolving long tail of designs.”

Balderton, founded in 2000 under the name Benchmark Capital before rebranding itself in 2007, typically invests between $3-5 million in startups. Previous investee companies include Betfair, LoveFilm and MySQL. The total value of the companies backed by Balderton is worth over $10 billion.

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