3D Software

Physna raises $6.9 million to develop “Google of 3D models”

Physna, a Cincinnati-based 3D modeling software startup, has announced the completion of a $6.9 million series A funding round, led by Columbus venture capital firm Drive Capital

Using the investment, Physna will further the development of its 3D model search engine, which allows users to compare and analyze thousands of 3D models for the purpose of quality control and automated inspection. Physna also aims to increase the adoption of its technology and continue to expand its engineering and sales teams. 

“We are very excited for the opportunity to invest in Physna,” states Drive Capital Partner Mark Kvamme. 

“We believe what Paul [Powers] and his team are doing in search has the potential to revolutionize the workflows of engineers around the world.”

Physna's solution in the workplace. Image via Physna
Physna’s solution in the workplace. Image via Physna

The Google of 3D models

Physna was founded in 2015 by Paul Powers, a law graduate of Heidelberg University, Germany, Astronomy and Astrophysics alumni of Harvard and serial entrepreneur. Short for “Physical DNA”, Physna is a geometric search engine that aims to increase the efficiency of CAD design, 3D printing and other manufacturing methods. The search engine operates alongside CAD and PLM programs, rendering 3D files as wire mesh structures. Using patent-pending algorithms and machine learning technology to analyze 3D models, the Physna search engine is able to identify common properties between their digital structures. 

“The results are orders of magnitude more accurate and faster than was ever previously possible in 3D search,” Powers commented. “We are just scratching the surface. The uses for Physna’s core technology are virtually limitless.”

The search results, which are pulled from a user’s own 3D file database, includes similarities and differences between 3D models, enabling the identification of common manufacturing problems. Physna is also reportedly able to sift through millions of 3D models in seconds, allowing users to easily locate models by filtering through shapes, patterns and features. According to Physna, the 3D search engine can also be used to determine whether standards or custom compliance for the 3D files are met before manufacturing. To help keep CAD models secure, Physna includes security features such as doublechecks and timestamps. These features combined are helping Physna potentially become the ‘Google’ for 3D models, according to Kvamme: “I remember watching Google rise to become the company that would set the standard for text and image search.” 

“I see the same potential here and believe Physna could become the market defining company for 3D search.”

Currently, Physna is working with a number of companies where its geometric search engine software is being employed in various industries, including manufacturing, aerospace, automotive, defense, consumer goods, electronics, and energy. The company has ongoing partnerships with Siemens, NASA’s Space Camp, PTC, Oracle, leading universities such as Purdue University, and unnamed government agencies. 

Demonstration of how Physna identifies similarities between 3D models in a database. Image via Physna
Demonstration of how Physna identifies similarities between 3D models in a database. Image via Physna

A unique software solution for comparing 3D files

In August 2018, 3D Printing Industry was able to speak with Powers to shed some light on the software that could potentially hold tremendous value for industrial additive manufacturing.  

Powers explained that Physna is very different to software services like 3YOURMIND, which recently received its own funding of €1.3 million, as it not primarily used to optimize 3D printing settings. He said, “[Physna] specializes in feature comparison, ensuring standard compliance throughout an organization, saving time when designing new models, and automating the creation of a digital thread throughout the lifecycle of a product.”

Subscribe to the 3D Printing Industry newsletter for the latest news in additive manufacturing. You can also keep connected by following us on Twitter and liking us on Facebook.

Looking for a career in additive manufacturing? Visit 3D Printing Jobs for a selection of roles in the industry. 

Featured image shows demonstration of how Physna identifies similarities between 3D models in a database. Image via Physna.