Formnext launches 2020 3D printing Start-up Challenge 

Formnext, 3D printing’s largest European-based trade show, has launched the 2020 edition of its Start-up Challenge.

Since it was announced earlier this month that Formnext 2020 will go ahead as expected, albeit with updated safety precautions due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, preparations have begun for this year’s contest. 

The competition is once again inviting innovative 3D printing companies that have been trading for less than five years, to apply for the award. A judging panel of industry experts  featuring 3D Printing Industry’s own Editor-in-Chief Michael Petch, will then assess the submissions before declaring the eventual winners. 

Sascha F. Wenzler, Vice President of Formnext organizers Mesago Messe Frankfurt GmbH, explained how the awards can act as a springboard to success for emerging 3D printing companies: 

“The Start-up Challenge is a well-publicized success story. Among other advantages, it has given them [entrants] the opportunity to showcase their business to a specialist international audience as part of Formnext, and get off to a flying start in the AM market.” 

Entries for the Startup Challenge 2020 are now open, with 3D Printing Industry's own Michael Petch set to be on the panel of judges. Photo via Formnext.
Entries for the Formnext Start-up Challenge 2020 are now open, with 3D Printing Industry’s own Michael Petch set to be on the panel of judges. Photo via Formnext.

The Formnext Start-up Challenge 2020

This year’s trade show will feature the sixth edition of the Formnext Start-up Challenge, which aims to provide a boost to budding 3D printing businesses. Winning the competition has enabled a range of now-established AM companies to raise their profile over the years, find prospective clients, and establish contact with investors. Now Formnext’s organizers are offering the same opportunities to this year’s applicants. 

In order to be eligible for the competition, businesses cannot be majority-owned by an established company, and must have been founded after December 31st 2014. In addition, the start-up must have a product or service that is market-ready in terms of customers, product status, and revenue to apply. 

The five winners of the Start-up Challenge 2020 will be rewarded with a Formnext exhibition and marketing package, which includes a fully-equipped exhibition booth in the Start-up Area. Additionally, winners will be able to participate in a pitch event at the conference, receive an individual company profile from a media sponsor, and benefit from corporate coaching. 

The AM Ventures Impact Award 2020

For the first time, entrants to this year’s iteration of the Start-up challenge, will also be eligible for the AM Ventures Impact Award. Launched by investment company AM Ventures in cooperation with Formnext, the prize will recognize the positive environmental impact of 3D printing ingenuity. The honor will be awarded to the 3D printing company that advances the 17 environmental goals set out by the United Nations, which include promoting green energy and resource conservation, as well as social aspects like education and equality. 

The competition is aimed at raising awareness around sustainability within the 3D printing industry, and the winner will need to prove they have had a strong environmental impact in their respective field. Suitable submissions could concern the planet as well as people, and include changes from a technology, application, company and supply chain point of view. Applicants will need to show what technology it provides, the applications it’s produced for and what actions the company has taken on sustainability, including within its supply chain. Not only will the award winner become a “lighthouse” in the industry for sustainable prediction, but they will also receive €5,000 in prize money, and a live pitch opportunity at Formnext 2020. 

“The potential offered by additive manufacturing for addressing the major global sustainability challenges is significant,” said Arno Held, Chief Venture Officer of AM Ventures. “The technology can be used to make drives more efficient, minimize material consumption, accelerate repairing cycles, and extend battery ranges. In all areas, AM can improve the world if we use the technology correctly. The Impact Award aims to help raise awareness of this.”

3D Printed fused silica glass - Photo via Glassomer
Previous winner Glassomer, innovated its own industry-compliant special silica nanocomposite material (pictured). Photo via Glassomer.

Previous Formnext Start-up winners

2019’s Start-up Challenge winners impressed the judges with the range of 3D printing innovations on show, and noted that they reflected the importance of improving efficiency in additive manufacturing. The panel’s industry experts identified these five innovations as the best at the conference: 

AdditiveLab, a Belgium-based developer which produced advanced simulation software that can predict the residual stresses and distortions of 3D printed parts. 

– Latvia-based software developer Exponential Technologies, which created software that uses AI and machine learning algorithms to determine machine configurations. 

Laser Melting Innovations (LMI), a 3D printer manufacturer based in Germany, which produced the Alpha 140 low-cost metal SLM 3D printer. 

– German 3D glass printing company Glassomer, which innovated its own industry-compliant special silica nanocomposite material.

– Swiss silicone 3D printing company Spectroplast for its SAMT service, which allows customers to 3D print using SLA or DLP with ISO-certified silicones.

Other previous winners of the award include well-established 3D printing companies such as 3D printing software company 3YOURMIND, automated post-processing provider DyeMansion, and SLS 3D printer manufacturer, Sinterit.

How to apply 

The deadline for applications for the Formnext Start-up Challenge 2020 is September 4th 2020, with winners to be announced this autumn. Relevant start-ups that would be interested in submitting an entry, can apply here

Best of luck to all of those that apply, and we look forward to seeing you at Formnext 2020 from November 10th-13th 2020. 

You can now nominate for the 2020 3D Printing Industry Awards. Cast your vote to help decide this year’s winners.

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Featured image shows the Startup Challenge booth at Formnext 2019. Photo via Formnext.