- Partnership underscores both companies’ commitment to prepare AM for Industry 4.0 through innovative collaborations, open architecture and digital twin predictive operability and serviceability
- Nexa3D’s entire Quantum Laser Sintering (QLS) product line is standardized to Siemens advanced factory automation and edge computing technologies
- Planned commercial Q1 2021 delivery for Nexa3D’s QLS™350 Polymer 3D printer, powered by Siemens automation controls
Read more here.
When companies need to find manufacturers to build custom parts, it’s not always an easy process, especially during a pandemic. Xometry, a 7-year old startup based in Maryland has built an online marketplace where companies can find manufacturers across the world with excess capacity to build whatever they need. Today, the company announced a $ 75 million Series E investment to keep expanding the platform.
T. Rowe Price Associates led the investment with participation from new firms Durable Capital Partners LP and ArrowMark Partners. Previous investors also joined the round including BMW i Ventures, Greenspring Associates, Dell Technologies Capital, Robert Bosch Venture Capital, Foundry Group, Highland Capital Partners and Almaz Capital. Today’s investment brings the total raised to $ 193 million, according to the company.
Company CEO and co-founder Randy Altschuler says Xometry fills a need by providing a digital way of putting buyers and manufacturers together with a dash of artificial intelligence to put the right combination together. “We’ve created a marketplace using artificial intelligence to power it, and provide an e-commerce experience for buyers of custom manufacturing and for suppliers to deliver that manufacturing,” Altschuler told TechCrunch.
The kind of custom pieces that are facilitated by this platform include mechanical parts for aerospace, defense, automotive, robotics and medical devices — what Altschuler calls mission critical parts. Being able to put companies together in this fashion is particularly useful during COVID when certain regions might have been shut down.
“COVID has reinforced the need for distributed manufacturing and our platform enables that by empowering these local manufacturers, and because we’re using technology to do it, as COVID has unfolded […] and as continents have shut down, and even specific states in the United States have shut down, our platform has allowed customers to autocorrect and shift work to other locations,” he explained
What’s more, companies could take advantage of the platform to manufacture critical personal protective equipment. “One of the beauties of our platform was when COVID hit customers could come to our platform and suddenly access this tremendous amount of manufacturing capacity to produce this much-needed PPP,” he said.
Xometry makes money by facilitating the sale between the buyer and producer. They help set the price and then make money on the difference between the cost to produce and how much the buyer was willing to pay to have it done.
They have relationships with 5000 manufacturers located throughout the world and 30,000 customers using the platform to build the parts they need. The company currently has around 350 employees with plans to use the money to add more to keep enhancing the platform.
Altschuler says from a human perspective, he wants his company to have a diverse workforce because he never wants to see people being discriminated against for whatever reason, but he also says as a company with an international market having a diverse workforce is also critical to his business. “The more diversity that we have within Xometry, the more we’re able to effectively market to those folks, sell to those folks and understand how they utilize technology. We’re just going to better understand our customer set as we [build a more diverse workforce],” he said.
As a Series E-stage company, Altschuler does not shy away from the IPO question. In fact, he recently brought in new CFO Jim Rallo, who has experience taking a company public. “The market that we operate in is so large, and there’s so many opportunities for us to serve both our customers and our suppliers, and we have to be great for both of them. We need capital to do that, and the public markets can be an efficient way to access that capital and to grow our business, and in the end that’s what we want to do,” he said.
A few years ago, additive manufacturing was mainly associated with rapid prototyping, research projects, and advanced engineering teams. Today, many organizations are looking to additive manufacturing technologies as a production solution as well.
The Altair Startup Program helps startups develop innovative solutions, reduce development times, and lower costs throughout the product lifecycle, from concept design to in-service operation.
Altair & Additive Manufacturing
Recent developments in simulation software technologies are consolidating the decision making into a single environment. Altair’s design for additive manufacturing solutions streamline the process with robust and accessible design and simulation tools. Altair’s simulation products comprise of:
- Topology optimization
- Simulation-driven design
- Manufacturing simulation
- Design-centric simulation
Altair provides software that goes beyond the creation of unique prototypes assuring performance and manufacturability.
Benefits Of Altair’s Simulation Technology
- Additive manufacturing for production: Identifying high-value parts and business cases, where additive manufacturing offers a commercial alternative to conventional manufacturing techniques.
- Printing right, the first time: Quickly understand possible defects before printing. Effectively influence changes to product design and process, all in a single environment.
- Designing optimal parts: Create high-performance designs specific to any additive manufacturing process, with the least amount of post-processing and optimizing the trial and error conditions.
How Does This Program Help Your Business?
Startups who participate in the Altair Startup Program also receive an up to 80% discount for Altair’s simulation-driven software solutions as well as 16 hours of free expert consulting.
Depending on your specific needs, Altair guides startups in the field of additive manufacturing in many ways, including to:
- Assess design feasibility early in the development process
- Save substantial prototyping costs
- Accelerate product development
- Reduce the risk of product failure
- Scale-up to market leadership
Should Your Startup Apply?
Altair is searching for high-tech startups developing a physical product and who meet the following criteria:
- Your startup is a privately held business
- Your startup has revenue of less than $ 10 million per year
- Your startup was founded less than four years ago
Successful Collaborations With Altair’s DfAM Solutions
Some examples of successful collaboration between Altair and startups from the field of additive manufacturing include:
- MX3D is a metal printing startup that combines standard industrial robots and welding machines with 3D printing software. With the help of DfAM techniques, MX3D helps in building large-scale metal printing capabilities.
- Amprove is a simulation-driven additive manufacturing startup developing solutions to maximize the advantages and manage the constraints of printing high-performance parts, at the product design stage.
Apply for the Altair Startup Program today!
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Nexa3D, the maker of ultra-fast polymer production 3D printers, announced today it plans to demonstrate its expanded portfolio of polymer production solutions that now include both photoplastic and thermoplastic capabilities at the virtual ASME AM Industry Summit on August 11 and 12. The company will showcase how its products are breaking speed, productivity and performance barriers as well as its recent portfolio additions, including its just announced new biocompatible medical material xMED412, its new eco-friendly cleaning solvent xCLEAN, and high performance polymer xCE-Black.
Read more here.
Edit: Alright already got some great feedback about the provisional patent/ some similar paths I could take. I would also like to say that I totally understand my idea isn't worth shit until people want to buy it and it isn't worth shit until I fully prove it. Its more so that in order to know if it is even worth proving I have to go all the way and try to prove it. Really appreciate the answers I have gotten so far though so thank you.
I am an engineering student. I have a fairly simple idea that I have researched and it seems to me that no one else has come up with what I have found. I have tested the idea several times on my own and while I believe that I have seen enough evidence through my experiments to back my idea up, I do not have the resources to create the full product that would be a full proof of concept which would allow me to patent/take my idea public/ to the market. To get the full product I would need to explain the idea and the product and have it manufactored professionally. Doing this would give the idea away. Going to any of my proffessors for help would be the same thing, by the time I had any answers to my issue the idea would have been very easy to take and implement on their own.
Anyone with the means of making what I would need to be made would also have the means of taking the idea, but I can't file any sort of patent because there a couple of things with the product I still need to figure out, but again I need a very specific set up to figure out those issues that would have to be professionally made.
Any sort of investment would involve me having to explain the idea, and then that person/people could take the idea and use their money.
This may seem very broad and also really stupid, and I don't know all that much about intellectual property law, patents, and related subjects, nor that much about how relationships with manufactures go. Any resources, previous posts, articles, etc that could help point me in the right direction are very appreciated and I apoligize in advance since I am sure I have said plenty that is either really dumb or doesn't make sense.
This morning Instrumental, a startup that uses vision-powered AI to detect manufacturing anomalies, announced that it has closed a $ 20 million Series B led by Canaan Partners. The company had previously raised $ 10.3 million across two rounds, including a $ 7.5 million Series A in mid-2017.
According to a release, the Series B was participated in by other venture groups, including Series A investors Root Ventures, Eclipse Ventures and First Round Capital, which also led its seed round. Stanford StartX also took part in the new investment.
Instrumental’s technology is a hybrid of hardware and software, with a focus on the latter.
TechCrunch caught up with the company’s founder and CEO Anna-Katrina Shedletsky to better understand its tech, and its business model. And we asked participating Canaan partner Hrach Simonian about the business metrics and milestones that led him to lead the deal.
Instrumental’s tech is a combination of cameras and code. The startup installs its hardware on manufacturing lines, employing learning software to ferret out anomalies using data from small sample sets. The company’s goal is to help other businesses that build physical products boost yields and save time.
“Our customers identify design, quality, and process issues weeks faster than their competitors and get to mass production with a higher quality product that can be built for significantly less money,” Shedletsky said in an email to TechCrunch.
According to Shedletsky, who previously worked at Apple in design and manufacturing capacities, Instrumental uses commodity hardware. The startup’s software is what matters, allowing its camera units to train with as few as 30 units and simple labeling training. Notably, given the reduced-capacity internet available at many manufacturing facilities in China where the company often works, its hardware can handle on-site data processing to prevent upload/download lag.
It’s not easy to get tech installed onto manufacturing lines, the company told TechCrunch, as it’s easy to get fired for stopping a production run. This can make it hard for companies like Instrumental to get their foot in the door.
Instrumental works around the problem by getting its tech installed on manufacturing lines when they are in pre-production development. If the startup can prove value there, its tech can be rolled out when the lines move from development to production. And, if Instrumental’s tech works with initial lines, it can be scaled across other manufacturing lines that are spun up, something called “replicating lines.”
The startup has two products: One for manufacturing lines in development, and one for those in production. Unlike enterprise software contracts that are often sold on a yearly cadence, Instrumental’s manufacturing deals can ramp up based on volume through a process that its CEO called “continuous sale.”
The model allows the company to charge more, more quickly than an enterprise software contract waiting for its re-up period to allow for renegotiation, boosting how quickly Instrumental can grow its business,
Flush with $ 20 million, what does Instrumental have planned? Shedletsky told TechCrunch that her first goal is to expand its business in the electronics space, a part of the manufacturing world where the startup has seen initial customer traction.
To support that effort, Instrumental is building out its go-to-market functionality, and continuing to work on its core technology she said.
After living off its Series A for around twice as long as many venture-backed companies tend to, TechCrunch was curious how quickly Instrumental intends to deploy its larger Series B. According to its CEO, the startup plans on being principled, but not slow. She stressed that she’s working to build a long-term company, and that she wants to create something that is both sustainable, and large.
Lacking hard growth metrics, TechCrunch was curious what attracted Canaan to Instrumental at this juncture. According to Hrach Simonian, a general partner at the firm, “Instrumental’s tools are quickly becoming a business imperative,” something that can be seen in its “renewal rates with big customers” he said, describing them as “extraordinarily high.”
Given that the sheer scale of global electronics is enormous, this gives Instrumental nearly infinite TAM to sell into. Let’s see how quickly the startup can grow.