Carbon's tech uses light and oxygen to sculpt finished parts out of resin — and now big financial firms are investing

Key Points
  • Start-up Carbon raises $143 million in a series D round of funding for its super fast 3-D printers.
  • The new funding, part of a targeted $200 million round, brings Carbon's valuation to $1.7 billion.
  • Investors include Adidas, Baillie Gifford, Fidelity, GE and Sequoia Capital.
Baillie Gifford, Fidelity, Adidas are investing in Carbon 3-D printers

Big financial firms are lining up behind Carbon, a start-up that makes super fast 3-D printers for manufacturing and design.

Baillie Gifford and Fidelity are among the investors in a new $143 million round that values the company at $1.7 billion, giving Carbon a strong vote of confidence from later stage investors who typically come in only after a business is going strong.

Carbon's machines and resins promise to help manufacturers make finished products in less time and without as much waste. The company's printers use light and oxygen to sculpt finished parts out of pools of resin. Most other 3-D printers put down layers of plastic or metal powders, then cook and cool them to make objects.

Carbon's printers are already being used to manufacture a huge range of items, including car and airplane parts, props for Hollywood studios and, most famously, the lattice-like midsole in Adidas' Futurecraft 4D sneakers.

"We've figured out how to print fast, but what matters more to our customers is that you can make a wide range of real parts on one machine," CEO Joseph DeSimone told CNBC.

Carbon has created dozens of resins that can be printed to make soft and rigid objects, including pieces that replace foam in seat cushions, footwear, athletic gear and furnishings.

DeSimone said the money would be used to help Carbon expand to work with companies around the world, especially in Japan and China.

Other investors in the current round include Archina Capital, Adidas, General Electric and JSR Corp. along with Carbon's earlier backers, Sequoia Capital, Silver Lake Kraftwerk and Reinet Investments. The raise is part of a $200 million targeted round.