London-based 3D printing software developer Ai Build has raised $8.5 million in a Series A funding round.
This funding will be used to accelerate Ai Build’s product roadmap and provide more industrial 3D printing customers with increased automation and artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities. The company also plans to utilize this investment to expand into North America with a new US-based subsidiary, and continue its growth throughout Europe.
Led by IQ Capital, this funding round drew support from Japanese optics and imaging multinational Nikon who served as a strategic investor. Existing Ai Build investors also participated in the Series A round, including Superseed, ACT Venture Partners, Atlas Venture (UK) and Seedcamp.
“It is a great privilege to be supported by investors and partners that share and understand the same vision as us. We are consistently learning and evolving the Ai Build platform to be ready for this rapidly growing market,” commented Ai Build Co-founder and COO Michail Desyllas. “This funding round comes at a perfect time for us to accelerate the adoption of additive manufacturing at scale and innovate together with our clients, partners and investors.”
Mason Sinclair, Principal at IQ Capital, stated “We’re excited to be working with Ai Build as they bring their automated platform for additive manufacturing to the global market. AM represents a $16bn segment of the manufacturing industry and is growing rapidly at over 20% per annum. This is an exciting time of transformation for the industry and we believe that AI Build will play a critical role in unlocking its potential.”
“Ai Build offers extensive solutions that enable automated workflows, bringing efficiency and sustainability to the field of AM. In tandem with Nikon’s capabilities, together we will deliver innovative solutions that revolutionize AM,” added Yuichi Shibazaki, Corporate Vice President and Officer in charge of Next Generation Project Division at Nikon.
Increasing automation in additive manufacturing with AI
Founded back in 2015, Ai Build is a Software-as-a-Service (Saas) company with the goal of increasing the accessibility and automation of additive manufacturing with AI.
The company’s primary offering is its AiSync software. This AI and machine learning (ML)-driven platform offers toolpath optimization and quality control for industrial additive manufacturing. A cloud-based platform, Ai Sync is advertised as fully-automating the additive manufacturing process from plan to print, making industrial 3D printing more accessible whilst improving speed, quality, and scalability.
“Despite its clear economic and environmental benefits, manufacturers have difficulty implementing additive manufacturing at an industrial scale. This is due to concerns about its reliability and ease of adoption. We believe that automation and smart use of data is the solution to this problem,” commented Ai Build CEO and Co-Foudner Daghan Cam.
“By partnering with Nikon as a leading technology provider who has a grand vision for the future of manufacturing, and IQ Capital as a deep-tech investor with proven track record of supporting global businesses, we are well positioned to achieve our goal for automating the factories of the future.”
This latest investment will reportedly allow Ai Build to expand its already growing customer base. A number of major manufacturing firms, such as aerospace manufacturer Boeing and global engineering solutions firm Weir Group, leverage Ai Build software to expand the use of additive manufacturing in large-scale industrial applications.
Ai Build also boasts a growing network of 3D printer hardware manufacturer partners, including Hans Weber Maschinenfabrik, Meltio, KUKA, Evo3D, CEAD, and Massive Dimension. Incorporating a range of large-format 3D printers into the Ai Lab workshop, Ai Build can test, develop, verify, and integrate its software for a growing range of applications.
According to Ai Build, early customers have reported significant improvement to their additive manufacturing workflows, including a 65% decrease in failed production attempts and a 90% improvement in overall build efficiency.
Recent investments in AI-driven additive manufacturing
The use of AI is an expanding area within the 3D printing industry, with companies receiving investment to grow their AI-driven software offerings.
Earlier this year, it was announced that California-based R&D software developer Albert Invent had completed a $7.5 million seed funding round. The company’s key software offering, called Albert, is an end-to-end digital R&D platform incorporating AI and ML to remove innovation barriers caused by disconnected and siloed R&D processes. Led by Index Ventures, whilst Homebrew, F-Prime Capital, and other prominent angel investors, this funding is being used to grow Albert Invent’s digital portfolio, and onboard more chemistry and materials science companies.
Elsewhere, Berlin-based industrial parts sourcing platform MakerVerse secured $10 million in a series A funding led by venture capital firm 9.5 Ventures. The MakerVerse online platform combines AI generated instant quotes with a verified global supply chain for additive manufacturing. MakerVerse is using this investment to expand its on-demand 3D printing services and AI-driven platform.
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Featured image shows Ai Build’s London-based Ai Lab. Photo by 3D Printing Industry.