Led by AM Ventures, a perennial investor in 3D printing start-ups, the company’s Series A funding round was also supported by existing shareholder btov’s Industrial Technologies Fund. News of the investment arrives just a week after Headmade Materials secured €5.8 million via the European Innovation Council (EIC) Accelerator Program, an initiative set up to scale emerging technologies.
Using the funding contributed by both its investors and the EIC, Headmade Materials says that it now intends to embark upon an “extensive expansion” of its manufacturing capacity, product portfolio and international sales team.
“We have been observing Headmade Materials for quite some time and are impressed by the company’s development in the last few years,” said Arno Held, Managing Director of AM Ventures. “The great scope of applications the technology enables and the successful projects that the team of Christian Fischer and Christian Staudigel have carried out speak for themselves.”
“We are very excited to now have become part of the Headmade journey and to take the next steps together.”
Spun-off by Co-founders Christian Staudigel and Christian Fischer from the Das Kunststoff-Zentrum (SKZ) research institute in 2019, Headmade Materials’ offering revolves around its proprietary ColdMetalFusion technology.
While the firm’s process is marketed as a combination of selective laser sintering (SLS), debinding and sintering, it’s set apart from conventional SLS by the composition of its in-house-developed materials. Available in tungsten, stainless steel, cobalt-chrome and titanium iterations, each of these alloys is embedded with a plastic binder, designed to improve both their flowability and compatibility.
When deployed during ColdMetalFusion, Headmade Materials’ powders are essentially processed in an SLS-like fashion, but at a lower temperature of 80°C, thus reducing the time required to heat and cool them down. Resulting prints are then post-processed, debinded and sintered into fully-dense objects, in a scalable approach that’s said to enable the creation of anything from 1,000 to 100,000 parts.
According to Headmade Materials, a number of “industry leaders” are currently in the process of implementing the technology within their workflows, following its successful deployment in pilot projects. In one such initiative, the company worked closely with service bureau Element22 to develop clipless 3D printed titanium pedals, which they’ve since launched under the Titanum brand.
Since then, the firms have also come up with weight-optimized parts for Sturdy Cycles’ Fiadh titanium road bike. Over the course of the project, the two companies found they were able to 3D print functional crank arms, frameset connectors and chainstay elements, in a success story that has now prompted Sturdy Cycles to shift the production of many of its parts to ColdMetalFusion.
Headmade takes funding to €10.2M
Following on from last week’s announcement that it had beaten over 1,000 other firms to secure up to €5.8 million worth of EIC funding, Headmade Materials has now further reinforced its coffers with another €2.5 million investment.
Significantly, the company raised this via a Series A funding round led by AM Ventures, a serial investor with a strong track record of helping turn emerging technologies into commercial successes. Currently, the firm has a portfolio of 15 businesses, but it has also invested considerably more elsewhere, helping many start-ups to establish themselves as stalwarts in the 3D printing industry.
Last year, AM Ventures also established a €100 million venture capital fund, and it currently offers to provide promising young firms with seed funding of between €500,000 and €3 million, as a means of helping get their business off the ground.
Headmade Materials’ fundraising was backed by btov as well, an investor not just focused on 3D printing, but supporting the growth of those developing robotics, industry 4.0, IoT or other advanced technologies. It too has committed huge sums of cash to this (up to €10 million to 5-10 start-ups per year in fact), and just like AM Ventures, it has previously backed DyeMansion, a very successful finishing firm.
Leveraging its newfound funding, Headmade Materials says that it will “strengthen its position” in a metal 3D printing space it describes as being “one of the growth markets of the next few years.” The company also plans to expand the reach of its technology, by ramping up the production of its proprietary feedstock, as well as launching new alloys and improved hardware alongside its commercial partners.
“With decades of experience in industrial 3D printing, AM Ventures is the perfect fit for us,” added Staudigel. “In addition, the collaboration with our existing investor btov Industrial Technologies Fund has already worked excellently within the AM market. With the support gained, we will accelerate the transformation of metal 3D printing into volume production and, together with our customers, bring numerous applications to market.”
AM Ventures’ success stories
Since being set up by EOS founder Hans Langer and his family in 2013, AM Ventures has dedicated itself to seeking out 3D printing start-ups with mass-market potential. In the past, it has proven adept at doing this, and its track record is full of success stories that reflect its ability to help those honing novel technologies to commercialize, making Headmade Materials’ backing all the more promising.
3D printing software developer 3YOURMIND, for example, has benefited significantly from AM Ventures’ investment, as the firm contributed to its $5.5 million Series A+ funding round back in 2020. Around a year earlier, Spectroplast also gained AM Ventures backing, which enabled it to scale its services to meet demand, and attempt to establish itself as a leader in the silicone 3D printing space.
Elsewhere, AM Ventures’ remaining portfolio companies include Conflux Technology, which recently closed an $8.5 million (AUD) financing round, in addition to other established names in the industry, such as Lithoz, Sintratec, MetShape, Cubicure, Elementum3D and Lightforce Orthodontics, the latter of which attracted $50 million in Series C funding last year.
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Featured image shows an engineer using an EOS Formiga P 110 3D Printer. Photo via Headmade Materials.