Applications now open for the 2023 Formnext Start-up Challenge

Applications are now open for the ninth annual Formnext Start-up Challenge.

This challenge seeks to recognize and reward new and innovative companies within the additive manufacturing world. 

The winners will be offered the chance to showcase their company at Formnext 2023, gaining valuable exposure, meeting new customers and, crucially, attracting new partners and investors. 

Formnext 2023, the biggest 3D printing trade show of the year, will take place between 7-10 November 2023. With over 600 exhibitors already confirmed, this year’s show looks set for new record participation figures. Formnext 2023 is therefore the ideal opportunity for young 3D printing startups to elevate their position within the 3D printing industry.      

Sustainability will also play an important role at this year’s event, with an additional award for start-ups who are leading the way in this field.  

“The Formnext Start-up Challenge aims to support young companies in the long term,” states Sascha F. Wenzler, Vice President of Formnext at event organizer Mesago Messe Frankfurt GmbH. “We offer the winners a highly attractive package enabling them to showcase what they do alongside the elite of the global AM world and inject fresh impetus into the international manufacturing industry.”

Applications will close on 14 July 2023, with the five winners set to be announced in September 2023. Participants must possess a marketable product, generate annual sales of less than €10 million, and be no more than five years old to apply.   

Sascha F. Wenzler, Vice president of formnext at Mesago Messe Frankfurt GmbH. Photo via Mesago
Sascha F. Wenzler, Vice President of Formnext at Mesago Messe Frankfurt GmbH. Photo via Mesago.

What does the award offer?

A 3D printed trophy, sponsored by Voxeljet, is up for grabs for all five winners. 

The winners will also receive a substantial Formnext Exhibition and marketing package. This package includes a fully equipped exhibition booth located in the Formnext 2023 Start-up Area of the show floor, and inclusion into all Formnext PR activities. 

Additionally, the winners will be able to take part in a pitch event on the Industry Stage, which will be broadcast live on Formnext.TV. Here, the start-ups will be given a key opportunity to impress and attract investors, companies, and customers with a brief presentation of their product or service offerings.

The long term benefits offered by this award are clear to see. For instance, previous winners such as 3Yourmind, Dyemansion, Kumovis, Sinterit, Trinckle 3D, and Xioneer have all experienced substantial corporate success since claiming the top prize.

“The Formnext Start-up Challenge is a unique opportunity for AM start-ups to expand their network, receive feedback from potential customers and industry experts, and evaluate their business models,” claims jury member Professor Peter Mayr, Head of the Chair of Materials Engineering of Additive Manufacturing at the Technical University of Munich

“Only through this collaboration between start-ups, science, and industry can we develop the AM applications of tomorrow and increase the maturity level of AM across domain boundaries.”

Dr. Alexander Kostenko, CEO of Dutch microprinting specialist Photosynthetic B.V., winner of the 2022 Start-up Challenge, stated that “we made more useful contacts in the 4 days at Formnext than we had in the previous 18 months. This once again accelerated our business in the right direction.”

Besides Photosynthetic, the Formnext 2022 Start-up challenge winners included Polish material developer Alpha Powders; metal post processing company Rivelin Robotics; high-performance composites developer SphereCube; and biomedical firm Lattice Medical, who also won the AM Ventures Impact Award. 

3D Printing Industry’s series of exclusive interviews with the 2022 winners can be accessed here.

The Formnext Start-up Challenge 2022 winners. Photo via Messago Messe Frankfurt GmbH/Marc Jacquemin.
The Formnext Start-up Challenge 2022 winners. Photo via Mesago Messe Frankfurt GmbH/Marc Jacquemin.

The AM Ventures Impact Award for sustainability 

The increasingly important issue of sustainability will also be highlighted through the Formnext 2023 Start-up Challenge, with the AM Ventures Impact Award. 

Worth €5,000, this award will recognize those start-ups who are sustainability leaders. To be in with a chance of winning, applicants must be able to demonstrate that they are making a conscious effort to optimize the sustainability of their company.

“Additive Manufacturing has become an important technology with huge potential to resolve global sustainability challenges,” commented Arno Held, Managing Partner at AM Ventures. “We are on the way to a sustainable and resource-efficient society, and start-ups are particularly well placed to drive this transformation in traditional manufacturing.”

In addition to Mayr, this year’s high profile jury includes: Professor Kristian Arntz, Professor for Manufacturing Technologies and Machine Tools at the FH Aachen and Chief Executive Officer of the Fraunhofer ICNAP; Stefanie Brickwede, Head of Additive Manufacturing at Deutsche Bahn and Managing Director of the “Mobility goes Additive” network; Arno Held, Managing Partner of AM Ventures; Alexander Oster, Director Additive Manufacturing at Autodesk; and our very own Michael Petch, Editor in Chief at 3D Printing Industry.

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Featured image shows the Formnext Start-up Challenge 2022 winners. Photo via Messago Messe Frankfurt GmbH/Marc Jacquemin.