By now, there are several companies working in the field of 3D printed construction, offering giant 3D printers capable of laying down foundations and walls faster than human hands can manage. One of the first to make a name for itself, though, was Apis Cor, a startup with offices in Russia and San Francisco. The Apis Cor 3D printer was introduced with the claim that it could 3D print entire houses in a single day – and, as it turns out, it can. Apis Cor has been involved in some notable 3D printed construction projects, and this week the company got some good news as private equity fund Rusnano Sistema Sicar announced its intention to invest up to $6 million in the startup.
Rusnano Sistema Sicar is a private equity fund established by joint-stock financial corporations Sistema and RUSNANO. Each company holds 50% of the fund, which is open to outside investors. It will be focused on investing in companies in Russia, the CIS, Europe and Israel – particularly in technological fields such as information technology, robotics and on-board equipment, software and cloud technologies, communication equipment and end-to-end solutions, renewable energy and energy-saving technologies, microelectronics, automated control systems, special communications systems, and software for comprehensive security systems.
Apis Cor falls into a couple of those categories with its mobile robotic 3D printer. What really stands out about the Apis Cor printer – other than its ability to 3D print houses, of course – is its compactness, making it easy to transport from site to site in one piece. Apis Cor was established with the goal of making 3D printed construction not only doable, but convenient, and the effectiveness of its system has become evident as it enters its active commercial growth phase.
“3D printing has enormous potential for the construction industry, with a projected share of up to 30% of the global low-rise cottages market, which is valued at USD 68bn,” said Sergey Durgach, CEO of Sistema Consult, a company acting as an investment adviser to Rusnano Sistema Sicar. “Rusnano Sistema Sicar’s investment philosophy is to support established or emerging champions in the segment of industrial and high technologies. With its first and as yet unrivalled solution capable of successfully outperforming conventional technologies, Apis Cor has the potential to become a leader in the 3D construction industry and claim first-mover premium in this fast-growing market.”
Apis Cor’s 3D printing technology can be used to build houses up to three stories high, and is faster, cheaper and easier, as well as more environmentally friendly, than traditional technologies. The company has potential customers all around the world, including in Russia, Asia and the Middle East, which have state programs for the construction of social low-rise housing and infrastructure, as well as in the United States and Europe. Apis Cor plans to have several dozen 3D printers in operation by the end of 2018, and expects revenue next year to reach tens of millions of dollars. The company’s technology is expected to make cottage construction 19% cheaper compared to foam concrete houses as early as next year, too, with possible further cost reduction of 20 to 30%.
“We are pleased that Apis Cor has become our fund’s first investment,” said Sergey Vakhterov, Managing Director of RUSNANO. “The company is a pioneer in the 3D printing industry and its technology has no peers on the global stage. Apis Cor’s solution makes the construction process cheaper and drastically changes the entire industry. We are seeking to work with innovative companies that require not only financing, but also the experience and resources offered by investors such as RUSNANO and Sistema.”
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