Germany-based VC firm the HZG Group has established a €60 million fund to help accelerate the growth of 3D printing’s most promising start-ups.
While the group’s funding round initially closed at €50 million, its limit had to be raised by €10 million, amid a ‘significant oversubscription’ and hefty investments from the founders of Concept Laser. Through its HZG Additive Manufacturing Tech Fund, the HZG Group now aims to use this capital to back start-ups across 3D printing, including those honing machines, processes, applications and services.
“We were confident that our offer would attract investors. However, being able to close the fund so fast came as a pleasant surprise,” said Frank Herzog, Founder and Managing Partner of the HZG Group. “With our combined experience, proven track record and access to an excellent 3D printing infrastructure, we aim to effectively support young entrepreneurs, taking them to the next level and establishing them as industry partners.”
A background in tech innovation
Established in 2017 and based in the town of Coburg, the HZG Group is a VC firm that specializes in incubating and making investments in emerging tech businesses. The group is led by Kerstin and Frank Herzog, Co-founders of Concept Laser, a 3D printer manufacturer they sold to GE during 2016, in a deal worth $599 million.
As such, it should come at no surprise that the entrepreneurs’ successor firm has spent much of the last five years focusing on identifying promising 3D printing technologies. Not only has the HZG Group become a trustee of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology, but acted as a founding member of the Sponsoring Society for the Lichtenfels Center of Next Generation Digital Technologies.
Founded with the goal of ‘bridging the gap’ between digitalization, and the needs of the local economy where it’s based, the organization aims to function as a ‘drop-in center’ for those developing advanced technologies, that provides support around R&D and training to the entrepreneurs, businesses and institutions that need it.
The HZG Group is also setting up a 3D printing facility under its NADDCON brand, in which it’ll offer to assist budding firms progress and commercialize their ideas within a ‘protected environment.’ Through this complex, as well as its newly-financed Tech Fund, the group says it ultimately aims to draw on its “experience and networks,” to help partners realize their “technical and entrepreneurial visions.”
HZG’s €60M 3D printing Tech Fund
Of the initial €50 million invested in the HZG Additive Manufacturing Tech Fund, half is believed to have been provided by Kerstin and Frank Carsten Herzog themselves. The round’s remaining capital, meanwhile, is said to have been provided by family offices, entrepreneurs and other investors, with the fund now expected to boost the development of young 3D printing firms across Germany, Austria and Switzerland.
Moving forwards, the group plans to award capital from this funding pot to two or three exciting start-ups per year, focusing specifically on those developing technologies with industrial applications or those that advance Industry 4.0.
According to Rolf Schwind, an investor in the HZG Group’s Tech Fund and CEO of SCHWIND, a developer of corneal treatment devices, the Herzogs’ expertise and the continued potential of 3D printing made the project an attractive opportunity.
“As a technology leader in eye laser systems, SCHWIND eye-tech solutions is constantly working on innovative solutions,” added Schwind. “Additive technologies allow us to rethink our high-tech products. The clear focus of the HZG Fund on 3D printing and the experience of Frank Carsten Herzog and Kerstin Herzog as pioneers in this field convinced me to continue investing in this future topic.”
Investing in the promise of AM
Despite the difficult global economic conditions caused by COVID-19 and Russia’s ongoing war in Ukraine, investors continue to provide 3D printing firms with huge amounts of funding, as they seek to cash-in on the technology’s renewed hype. Just last month, Fictiv secured a $100 million investment, which should allow it to improve the speed and reliability of its on-demand manufacturing services.
In November 2021, nTopology also raised $65 million via a Series D funding round, which brought its total raised up to $135 million. At the time, the company said it planned to use the proceeds to expand on its generative design platform, in a way that would enable it to address new applications and strengthen its global footprint.
Habitual start-up backer AM Ventures, meanwhile, has also stepped its efforts to support those developing emerging technologies, by establishing a €100 million 3D printing VC fund of its own. The company, which is majority-owned by the EOS-founding Langer family, has an impressive track record of funding the technology’s developers, including now-industry stalwarts like 3YOURMIND and DyeMansion.
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Featured image shows an engineer calibrating a 3D printer. Photo via NADDCON.