In the 3D printing world, Israel is probably best known for being the country that brought us the DragonFly 2020 electronic circuit board 3D printer, courtesy of Nano Dimension. But Nano Dimension is only one of the promising technology companies to come out of Israel, and the country is working hard to provide support for startups that focus on additive manufacturing and other advanced technologies. Israel has been cultivating its startup base for several years; in 2011, the country launched an incubator called BioIncubator for healthcare and life sciences startups. That initiative has been highly successful in its six years of existence, funding four startups so far: ChanBio, Neviah Genomics, ARTSaVit and Metabomed.

BioIncubator is about to get a new neighbor at the Yavne, Israel research and development headquarters of Merck KGaA, which launched BioIncubator and is now beginning a new startup incubator, this time focused on next generation electronics. The new incubator will be called PMatX and will be centered on startups in the fields of disruptive materials, additive manufacturing and other advanced manufacturing technologies, particularly companies using those technologies to develop new electronic products.

PMatX will be supported by the Technology Innovation Lab program of the Israel Innovation Authority, and will be run by Merck’s Corporate Ventures fund, based in Darmstadt, Germany. Additional partners supporting the program include HP and Battery Ventures.

Roel Bulthuis [Image: Mark Earthy]

“As we see an emerging number of materials start-ups in Israel we believe the creation of an incubator focused on materials and manufacturing technologies in Israel is absolutely the right choice,” said Roel Bulthuis, head of the Corporate Ventures Fund of Merck KGaA. “We are investing in start-ups and the new PMatX incubator will offer infrastructure and proximity to start-ups in our already running healthcare and life science incubator with the chance for the new start-ups to learn from experienced ones.”

PMatX will focus on startups close to Merck’s Performance Materials business sector and plans to bring in its first companies by the fourth quarter of 2017. Existing startups, or those planning to launch startups, who are interested in being supported by PMatX can send investment proposals to marc.feiglin@merckgroup.com.

The overall investment volume in PMatX will be about €20 million, and the initial commitment will be for three years. The startup incubator will have its home in newly constructed laboratories equipped with new technology aimed at facilitating the development of next generation electronics.

The success of BioIncubator is a good sign that the PMatX initiative will be a productive one. BioIncubator has committed to invest up to €10 million until 2018 in biomedical startups, and there’s no reason why its new electronics-focused counterpart shouldn’t see the same level of success, or greater. Israel has already put itself on the electronics industry map with the development of the DragonFly 2020, so it’s clear that there is a high level of ingenuity and talent for new technology in the country. It will be interesting to see what comes out of this startup incubator in terms of new 3D printing technologies; the DragonFly 2020 may have been a groundbreaker for 3D printed electronics, but there’s still plenty of room for the field to expand and advance. Discuss in the Merck forum at 3DPB.com.

PMatX office space

 

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