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Investment Update : West Fountain+C10:D10 Parallel Fund invested in Series D of Desktop Metal


Image from Desktop Metal

In July 2017, West Fountain and Shenzhen Capital Group completed the Series D investment in 3D printing of American unicorn metal The company Desktop Metal. Other investors in the D round include New Enterprise Associates-New Enterprise Association, GV (Google Ventures), General Electric Venture Capital, the Future Fund, and Techtronic Industries. Starting in October 2015, Desktop Metal has raised $212 million to date.

Desktop Metal CEO and co-founder Ric Fulop said that this funding would help promote the company's speed to market, expand sales plans, and facilitate advanced research and development. Desktop Metal will explore expansion in international markets in 2018.
Fulop said: "We are on the verge of an exciting change about how to subvert the original design concept, the process of manufacturing prototypes, and finally mass production of metal parts. The latest funding allows us to ship the Studio system and the launch of the Production System in 2018 also enables us to expand the company's business globally. The continued support of our investors strengthens Desktop Metal's solutions in additive manufacturing and helps engineers. For the first time, a manufacturer has applied high-efficiency metal 3D printing in the entire product development life cycle, effectively mass-producing complex metal parts."

Steve Taub, senior director of advanced manufacturing at GE Ventures, said: "GE Ventures' mission is to invest in startups with cutting-edge technology. Desktop Metal's team and technology are fully aligned with their promises to change the way parts are manufactured through innovative metal 3D printing technology. We see that engineers have great potential to change how parts and products are designed and manufactured."

Dayna Grayson, a partner of New Enterprise Associates, commented: "The team and technical performance of Desktop Metal excited us. They have created a new frontier of 3D printing with speed and quality, redefining the term "3D printing", not just simple-turn digital models into physical models. This may affect manufacturing and processes in the coming decades."

Desktop Metal's product line includes two metal 3D printing products, DM Studio and DM production system, covering the entire product life cycle from prototype to mass production. Desktop Metal claims that its new products will disrupt traditional metal manufacturing methods by improving production speed, safety, and quality while reducing costs.

DM Studio system

The DM Studio System is priced as low as $49,900 and is hailed as the first office-friendly metal 3D printing system that can be used for rapid prototyping applications. The system includes a 3D printer and a microwave-enhanced sintering furnace, producing complex and high-quality metal 3D printed parts in an office environment or factory floor.

Studio System printing process

DM Production System

The DM Production System is said to be the fastest 3D printing system for mass production of high-resolution metal parts. Unlike the DM Studio system positioned in the manufacture of prototypes, the DM production system uses a proprietary single-pass jet (SPJ) technology, increasing the processing speed of metal parts to 100 times that of the existing laser metal 3D printing system. Desktop Metal believes that the DM production system will enable manufacturers to significantly reduce their costs, making this technology an alternative to casting.

3D Science Valley believes that Desktop Metal's main reason for attracting investors is its single-pass jet (SPJ) technology that claims 100 times the current speed. This technology is similar to the binder jetting technology we are familiar with. The binder jetting technology was developed by Ely Sachs and Mike Cima of MIT. This technology has been commercialized by companies such as Voxeljet and Exone. The co-founder team of Desktop Metal includes MIT material science professor Ely Sachs (inventor of 3DP adhesive jetting technology).

From 3D Science Valley's perspective, unlike the melt extrusion method used by the DM Studio System, the single-channel jet (SPJ) technology used in the DM production system can form sophisticated geometric shapes, including small lattice structures. , This also makes Desktop Metal has the strength that is comparable to the currently widely used powder bed molten metal 3D printing technology: the manufacture of highly complex metal parts.

The Desktop Metal team is composed of professionals in materials science, engineering, and software. The company's co-founder and CEO Ric Fulop founded battery technology company A123 Systems before. He also worked in this field before founding his own 3D printing company. With advisory and investment for several startups in China, his portfolio includes MarkForged, OnShape, ProtoLabs, and SolidWorks. As a partner of North Bridge Investment Company, Fulop has accumulated a wealth of relevant experience. He believes that Desktop Metal's technology will be the manufacturing industry. The revolution brought is comparable to the revolution brought by chips to the IT industry.

The revolution brought about by the chip mentioned by Dr. Fulop is remarkable. One of the main reasons is that trillions of chips are connected, and the software system built on it forms a network economy.

If chips can connect the world, data may drive manufacturing. This may be the reason why Google is leading the investment in Desktop Metal: data.

In 2015, Google led the investment in Carbon, a unicorn company in the field of plastic 3D printing, with an investment of US$100 million. By 2016, Carbon has raised a total of 222 million US dollars.

Behind manufacturing, it is not difficult for us to find that the importance of data is emerging day by day. In the future, where will data lead human society, and what changes will it bring to human life and manufacturing methods? In the view of 3D Science Valley, this is something worth thinking about and paying attention to, and it is also another investment idea to rethink the manufacturing industry.