Reports: Disney acquires 'world's first 3D printed toy' company MakieLab

Feb 22, 2017 | By Benedict

MakieLab, a UK-based company that had made custom 3D printed dolls since 2012, has reportedly been acquired by Disney. MakieLab has history with the US entertainment giant, having been part of the Disney Accelerator startup scheme in 2015.

Having raised significant funding for its 3D printed dolls as far back as 2012, formerly London-based MakieLabs was always somewhat ahead of the curve, anticipating the desktop 3D printer explosion of 2014, the craze for 3D printed toys and avatars in the gaming industry, and the growing tendency for famous toy brands to embrace 3D printing. That being said, it appears that MakieLabs is now taking a step back from the unpredictability of the 3D printing industry, ceasing all current operations. Fortunately for lovers of 3D printed “Makies” dolls, an unnamed company described only as “a fantastic US media behemoth” has acquired MakieLab. Reports suggest that the behemoth in question is Disney.

According to TechCrunch, Disney actually acquired MakieLab’s technology and assets sometime last year, so the recently announced closure of MakieLab as an independent business strongly signals that Disney is the new owner of the 3D printed toy maker. Prior even to Disney’s acquisition of MakieLab’s intellectual property, the UK startup had been inducted into the 2015 Disney Accelerator startup scheme, along with nine other promising tech ventures that included 3Ders favorite Open Bionics, a 3D printed prosthetics company. MakieLab had partially relocated to the US upon joining the accelerator program.

It is not yet clear how Disney intends to use MakieLab technology, though it is easy to see the appeal of customizable, 3D printed, Disney-branded dolls. Taking MakieLab’s proven formula and applying it to the unstoppable Disney brand could therefore make a lot of sense for the entertainment giant, though it is interesting to consider how the company will reconcile its strongly character-focused merchandising with the make-your-own philosophy of MakieLab.

“Makies technology and platform has been successfully acquired by a fantastic U.S. media behemoth, who we hope will do something wonderful with it very soon,” MakieLab wrote on its Facebook page on February 18. “We tried to continue on the Makies world-takeover independently, but the dream had to end, for all sorts of 2016—ewww—reasons. We hope our new owner can achieve what we couldn’t on our own for you.”

In what could well be a nod to the now-Disney-owned Star Wars franchise, MakieLab added: “Thank you, new owner, you are our only hope!”

Several MakieLab customers posted messages of appreciation and gratitude for the company in the comments section below the announcement.

Posted in 3D Printer Company

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