This Maple Plain company bills itself as the fastest in the world to turn CAD drawings into parts and prototypes. High-tech computer-assisted manufacturing and a fully automated, web-based quoting and ordering software enable it to provide a quote and make CNC-machined or injection-molded parts in as fast as one business day. Customers range from independent inventors to multinational corporations in a variety of industries. And unlike many custom manufacturers, Proto Labs specializes in low-volume production, which it describes as an underserved market.
Founded in 1999, Proto Labs has grown revenues from $35.9 million in 2007 to $98.9 million in 2011. On February 24, the company’s IPO went live, and had a strong first day. The stock (NYSE: PRLB) was offered at $16—in the first week of March, the share price was over $27.