In an investment headed by existing backer Anzu Partners, NUBURU has raised $20 million to develop its “AI” welding system, while PrinterPrezz has gained $16 million in a round led by DOV Management. PrinterPrezz plans to invest the funding in growing its engineering team and developing its technologies for clinical applications.
“We believe that the future of medical device development is in the joining of novel materials with proprietary technology,” said Shri Shetty, CEO of PrinterPrezz. “This investment validates our model and secures our opportunity to explore nanotechnology and other applications.”
Expanding on PrintPrezz’s one-stop shop
PrinterPrezz is a 3D printing provider that specializes in offering a range of 3D printing, scanning and software services to clients in the medical sector. Since opening its dedicated Innovation Center in 2018, the firm has been able to deploy its portfolio to fabricate various surgical aids, prosthetics and implants for customers.
Working with Texan clinical firm Osseus Fusion Systems, PrinterPrezz managed to 3D print a new line of spinal interbody fusion devices. More recently, the company has sought to expand on the applications of its technology, and agreed to open a co-location facility with tech-incubator UCSF Surgical Innovations.
Now that PrinterPrezz has closed its funding round, it intends to ramp up the development of its custom materials, and innovate new additive medical devices. The investment itself was co-led by DOV Management as well as Boutique Venture Partners and Berkeley Catalyst Fund, and supported by Solvay Ventures.
According to David You, the Founder and CEO of DOV Management, the scalability of PrinterPrezz’s 3D printing facilities made it an attractive investment. “We believe the foundry ecosystem that PrinterPrezz is building will bring about a new era in the healthcare industry,” said You.
“With its platform-based approach, ability to leverage the versatility and design freedoms of AM for medical device innovation and its R&D efforts, PrinterPrezz fits our investment philosophy perfectly,” added You. “We look forward to working with this enthusiastic and multi-disciplinary team to further grow the business.”
NUBURU’s laser-like expansion focus
NUBURU develops high-powered blue lasers for materials processing applications. Given that darker metals such as copper have a higher absorption rate in the blue spectrum, the company claims that its AI and AO lasers could “transform” the speed and quality of welding, machining and 3D printing certain alloys.
In terms of 3D printing, NUBURU deploys its lasers to optimize the performance of laser cladding and Laser Metal Deposition (LMD) machines. Unlike infrared lasers, NUBURU’s technology enables copper to be clad to other copper surfaces, and within LMD, it can reportedly print ten times faster than regular systems.
Having now gained $20 million in investment, the company aims to further develop its AI series of welding products, and expand its presence in the energy, e-mobility and 3D printing markets. The funding round, which was led by Anzu and Thomas Wilson, CEO of the Allstate Corporation, takes its total cash raised to $50 million.
As part of the deal, Wilson and the former MD of the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) Ron Nicol, will join Anzu partners David Michael and David Seldin on NUBURU’s board of directors. The investment closely follows the appointment of the company’s new CEO and CFO, and reflects its ambition to expand into broader markets during 2021.
“The feedback we’ve received from our customers has been overwhelmingly positive and proven that our high-power and high brightness blue lasers are a compelling option,” said Dr. Mark Zediker, Founder of NUBURU. “We are now scaling operations to respond to this strong customer interest in migrating their processes to our blue laser technology.”
Blue laser technologies in 3D printing
Although blue lasers aren’t often used within conventional 3D printers, they have been deployed experimentally within certain systems.
California-based 3D metal printer manufacturer Formalloy has integrated Nuburu’s blue laser technology into its L-Series of LMD machines. The system was found to produce a spot size five times smaller than infrared lasers, while yielding parts of a higher resolution and surface quality.
Elsewhere, global engineering firm Renishaw has integrated blue lasers into its NC4+ Blue non-contact tool measurement solution. The device’s shorter wavelength results in improved diffraction effects and optimized laser beam geometry when compared to red laser sources.
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Featured image shows a PrinterPrezz engineer using one of the firm’s 3D systems Pro X DMP 320 3D printers. Photo via PrinterPrezz.