Vancouver 3D printing design marketplace Pinshape has announced the termination of its service effective March 31.
Pinshape launched publicly in January 2015, and was founded in 2013, raising a $700,000 seed round through 500 Startups (Batch 9), China Rock Ventures, BDC Capital, DeNA, and a few outside investors.
“Ultimately, investor confidence in the consumer segment of the 3DP industry has weakened significantly over the past 12 months,” wrote the Pinshape team on its blog. “We’ve seen most major 3DP players abandon the consumer segment entirely and shift their focus to industrial applications and opportunities. It’s still unclear to many how end consumers will adopt the technology, and what use cases will prevail to justify further investment.”
Since its founding, Pinshape claims to have grown to over 75,000 active users and served over 1,500 downloads each day to its community.
In December, Pinshape launched its Pinshape Feed feature, featuring over 12,000 approved designs, which promised to personalize each user’s experience, based on previous activity combined with who each user follows or who follows them, after they’ve signed in on the website’s community tab.
In the end, Pinshape may have been too good for the shark infested world of start-up venture capital.
“Together, we’ve built one of the most active and trusted marketplaces online,” they write.
Good companies who have also catered to a community sensibility only to have risen slightly and then fallen include Stewart Butterfield’s Tiny Speck, which a lot of people were sad about at the time.
A community basis for consumer/individual 3D printing, though, may have been the wrong bet to place, with the vision of an eventual 3D printer in every home being just as unlikely as 3D television or widespread consumer adoption of virtual reality goggles and Bitcoin.
“Over the past 4 months we ran a process to find Pinshape a new home,” they write. “We failed to attract investment capital to run Pinshape as a stand alone company, and pursued acquirers we felt could continue building on the vision. Ultimately, this process was unsuccessful. In the coming weeks, we will continue to explore options to transition the platform to a new home.”
The end of Pinshape may be an indicator that there isn’t widespread support enough to ensure the long-term health of 3D printing for the consumer market.
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The short term effect of the end of Pinshape, however, means that we will never know who might have come out victorious in their “Create Your Best Batman v. Superman Design & Win a 3D Printer from Flashforge!” competition, which would have ended April 15.
That film will have ended the careers of more people than anyone could have reasonably predicted by the time its theatrical run comes to a merciful end.
Users of the Pinshape marketplace are advised to “please backup any files you own as they will be removed when the site is closed.”