Proto Labs is Minnesota’s next billion dollar tech company

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As Proto Labs celebrates its one year IPO anniversary this month, it jumps up the chain to become one of Minnesota’s top tech companies.

The Maple Plain tech firm was in the midst of an unprecedented growth phase — generating $100m revenue in 2011, pushing headcount past 500, and opening an additional 128,000 square foot automated manufacturing plant in Rosemount. For founder Larry Lukis and CEO Brad Cleveland, the market welcomed an offering that yielded $68m while opening the doors for broader access to further funding options.

Trading on the NYSE under the symbol PRLB, Proto Labs was but one of two companies across the entire state of Minnesota to complete a public stock offering in 2012 and the only Minnesota tech IPO since SPS Commerce in 2010. And like its tech brethren, Proto has yet to slow their roll.

The company completed a secondary follow-on offering in November yielding $125m in liquidity/working capital and 4th quarter earnings were well received on the street; share prices are up 25% this month, climbing as high as $53/share — an increase of over 300% since the $16/share IPO pricing.

With approximately 24m outstanding shares priced at Friday’s close of $45.51, Proto Labs has officially reached a market capitalization of over $1b, more than doubling their hypothetical market value in one years time.  Is there another tech company in Minnesota growing with this speed and scale?

With FICO saying goodbye, Proto Labs will claim the #2 tech spot behind Stratasys, who boosted its market cap to $1.4b last year through M&A.

Proto Labs claims over 1,000 employees internationally and plans on continued local hiring and expansion of physical infrastructure in the Twin Cities.  CFO John Judd estimates between $35-$38m Q1 2013 revenues, a further increase from last quarters record $33.6m gross/$7.4m net.

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