"For all we've grown and changed, one thing has stayed the same: We come to work every day excited to play our part in helping our customers bring innovative products to market, faster than anyone in the world."
– Larry Lukis
Proto Labs Founder
Proto Labs was founded as The ProtoMold Company in 1999 by Larry Lukis, a successful entrepreneur and computer geek. Larry previously was co-founder of a successful $100 million company that wanted to design a better printer, and was floored by the time and money it took to get injection-molded parts. His answer was to develop an automated process for producing injection-molded parts in a fraction of the time and cost it had taken before. With a stated mission "to radically reduce the time it takes to get prototype injection-molded plastic parts" and "to make plastic injection molding a practical option for products not requiring large quantities of parts," Protomold was off and running.
With a rapidly growing customer base demanding more, we pushed the technology envelope to produce bigger and more complex parts, introduced the Firstcut CNC Machining service, opened up manufacturing facilities in Europe and Asia, and changed the company name to Proto Labs to reflect our growing capabilities. In 2012, we decided to take the company public and became one of the most successful initial public offerings of that year. And in 2014, we added industrial 3D printing as our third flagship service. As the world’s fastest provider of 3D-printed, machined and molded parts, we take pride in providing customers real parts really fast.