The Frontier Tech Showdown is the premier pitch event for seed-stage startups in the fields of 3D printing, robotics, and virtual reality, and past competition winners, including Dog Parker, double winners Obsess and ILLUSIO Imaging, and Winter Storm Stella-braving Nanogrande, have since raised over $60 million. Venture capital firm Asimov Ventures sponsored the startup competition at last week’s I3DP Seoul, and presented the winner with an uncapped SAFE for $5,000.The big winner was none other than Team Owl Works, a Korean startup so named because the team that built its resin desktop Morpheus 3D printer, introduced at I3DP Seoul in June 2015, works at night. Soon after that I3DP event, the startup held a successful Kickstarter campaign for the Morpheus, followed by another campaign for its Morpheus Delta 3D printer in 2016. Owl Works runs facilities in both Korea and the US – Ryujin Lab, Inc. is its Korean headquarters, while Owl Works 3D, LLC is the US office in San Jose, California.
Owl Works developed a resin-curing 3D printing process called LIPS, which stands for Light Induced Planar Solidification and is not altogether dissimilar to CLIP technology. Its 3D printers use a commercial-grade LCD to create a photo masking of the model printing in the resin tank, and cures the resin one layer at a time with UV LEDs. The process offers high performance, quality, and print speed, with lower operating costs and overall price.
“We were impressed by the quality of startups at the inaugural Frontier Tech Showdown Seoul. Owl Works emerged as the clear winner, thanks to strong market performance of the Morpheus printer, which cleverly uses an LCD panel for enhanced resolution and speed over traditional stereolithography,” Tyler Benster, General Partner, Asimov Ventures, and one of the competition’s judges, told 3DPrint.com of the decision.
According to the ambitious Korean startup’s Facebook page, while at the I3DP Seoul conference and expo last week, Owl Works debuted the commercial versions of its Mark4 and E7 3D printers, and it also brought along prototypes of its I24, Mark5, and the Morpheus Delta. This is, of course, in addition to winning the startup challenge, and the uncapped SAFE for $5,000 from Asimov Ventures. Winning the Frontier Tech Showdown will bring Owl Works some good exposure and has brought in a solid investment with Asimov Ventures now backing it, but the company is also hoping to raise an additional $3 – $5 million in research and development funds for the next parts of its plan to offer customers key components and service. According to the startup’s competition pitch deck, the team will focus on developing a new LIPS engine for 3D printer manufacturers, and new 3D printing software, which will feature a cloud-based optimization.
“We’ve developed LIPS technology to give FDM/FFF users one more option for their manufacturing tools. Because FDM/FFF has some problems in quality and speed, although it’s a good affordable technology. We believe LIPS can provide FDM/FFF users with unique option for their creative works because of its print quality, speed and low cost operation,” SJ Park, CEO of Owl Works, told 3DPrint.com.
“We have a bright view on resin 3D printing technology and LIPS will help to grow consumer 3D printer market by calling new demand. We’re seeing 1.7B USD market at 2020, and LIPS technology contribute 0.6B USD. We’re aiming to take 30% of market share in new demand.”
Park told us, “We have a concrete plan for R&D on LIPS technology and plan to employ CLIP-like technology. You can imagine the potential of it; we can do continuous growing of life-size figure of people (or similar) by combining LIPS and CLIP-like technology. We’re searching for an angel investor… to realize our concept more quickly as well as to distribute LIPS enabled 3D printer more aggressively. We hope we can meet good investors to discuss our vision and plan through this opportunity like former winners of Frontier Tech Showdown did.”
As Carbon has been seeing some major business steps forward based on its proprietary CLIP technology lately, these seem some smart footprints to follow. Now backed by Asimov Ventures, Owl Works also joins the ranks of established 3D printing businesses such as 3D Hubs, Wiivv Wearables, and Collider. This success is sure to set the company on many new radars as one to watch. Discuss in the Team Owl Works forum at 3DPB.com.