Spectroplast AG, a silicone 3D printing service provider and spin out of ETH Zürich, has raised €1.38 million ($1.54 million) in seed funding. Money raised will be used to help the company scale its production services, and find its position as a leader in the field.
Indicating demand created by a growing customer base, Manuel Schaffner, Spectroplast’s CEO, said, “It is our defined mission to become the world’s leading provider of customized silicone products.” At present, Schaffner added, 3D printing as an industry is “just starting to understand” how powerful functional products can be when combined with industrial scale manufacturing.
The round was led by the award winning investment company AM Ventures. “Having the financial support and domain expertise of AM Ventures will help us execute our mission even more rapidly and broadly,” concluded the CEO.
Silicone 3D printing for production
Founded in 2017 and incorporated September 2018, Spectroplast has created a range of silicones compatible with vat polymerization processes. These materials are designed to be provided as part of a service, fulfilling the need for customized soft material products at low volumes. As described Johann Oberhofer, CTO at AM Ventures, “Spectroplast’s introduction of silicones to the world of Additive Manufacturing is well-timed with a rapidly growing demand for customized silicone products observed not only in the healthcare sector but also in many other markets.”
Tailored to achieve certain properties and performance, Spectroplast silicones are available in Shore hardness from Shore A0 to Shore A80, and “all colors” including transparent. Though the company holds IP on both the materials and the process side, it uses commercially available 3D printers to provide production services. As explained in a 3D Printing Industry Q&A with co-founder and CTO Petar Stefanov, “It is important that we tailor our materials to be compatible with the most prominent platforms to allow for speedy upscaling of our production capacity.”
Building a “synergistic portfolio”
AM Ventures was established in 2013 and is a sister company of leading 3D printer OEM EOS. Specializing in investment for 3D printing industry related startups, the company’s portfolio consists of a range of business across the additive manufacturing ecosystem, including 3D software company 3YOURMIND, post-processing company DyeMansion and amorphous metal 3D printing service Exmet AB.
“In the Additive Manufacturing industry today,” Arno Held, Chief Venture Officer at AM Ventures explained in a prior 3D Printing Industry interview, “most large companies focus on growing their piece of the AM pie.”
“Our mission, however, is to grow the entire industry and accelerate the adoption of AM in the industrial context.”
Placing effort into building “a synergistic portfolio of companies,” Held added, “we invest if the portfolio benefits from the new investment and vice versa. This enables us to increase the value of our existing investments with every new acquisition.”
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Featured image shows colored, 3D printed skulls. Photo via Spectroplast