How This $140 Million Design Software Startup Uses Math To Help Power The Shift To 3D Printing

Bradley Rothenberg, cofounder and CEO of nTopology, is building next generation design software that relies on mathematical computations to create 3D-printed parts and products that are lighter and more efficient than would be possible with older CAD systems. As 3D printing takes hold as a means for mass production in industries like aerospace, automotive and healthcare, his New York City-based startup expects revenue to more than triple this year, to $5 million, up from $1.5 million in 2019. 

That’s still tiny, of course, but the market for this type of cloud-based generative design software is growing so fast that in June – six months earlier than expected and despite the pandemic – nTopology raised $42 million led by Insight Partners at a valuation of $140 million. The fresh capital will help nTopology, which has 82 employees, expand as industries including aerospace, automotive and healthcare adopt 3D printing for future products, such as electric vehicles. 

“We’re the toolmakers behind the scenes enabling this whole industry to work,” says Rothenberg, 35.

The startup’s cloud-based software, which costs roughly $5,000 per user per year, has been used to redesign brackets for space satellites, to make more efficient spinal cages for back surgery and to rapidly create nasal swabs for Covid-19 testing during the pandemic, among other uses. Customers include Lockheed Martin (which is also an investor), Raytheon, BMW, Daimler, Trek Bikes, NASA and Lightforce Orthodontics.

As manufacturers turn to 3D printing to produce parts and products at mass scale, nTopology is part of an emerging industry of next-generation design software that includes products from Autodesk, Dassault Systemes’ Solidworks and PTC’s Frustum. The advanced computations in nTop’s software allow it to create structures that are hollowed out or have lattice designs that could only be created with