Autodesk’s growing passion and interest in the 3D printing industry became apparent with Spark, and has officially caught on fire at Autodesk—where they plan to spread the enthusiasm—and the wealth—announcing a $100 million investment fund set aside to disperse dollars to worthy new 3D printing up-and-comers.
Not to be overshadowed by the recent hoopla surrounding HP’s stunning announcement yesterday regarding their plans to develop a 3D printing ‘ecosystem,’ Autodesk obviously already had their own plans for carving out their niche in the 3D printing arena.
Quite simply, Autodesk wants 3D printing to grow faster. Their solution is the Spark Investment Fund.
It’s estimated that 3D printing will soon be a technology generating tens of billions of dollars per year. The industry is growing, but many are still frustrated with the limited abilities of additive manufacturing. While enthusiasm, genius, and innovation might be in place, often the cash needed to make ideas bloom is not available.
For small businesses with great ideas and products, lack of capital is what limits most. To solve that issue, Autodesk is stepping in to fund some of the best and brightest who apply through the Spark Investment Fund. While skillfully expanding the spotlight on their Spark platform, they also intend to spotlight those who can further the technology that has grown exponentially in recent years, making not only headlines—but also serving to make an impact on a multitude of different sectors that would not otherwise have seen the progress afforded by 3D printing.
Targeting start-ups, entreprenuers, and researchers, Autodesk wants to act as an accelerant in the 3D printing industry by providing the capital to those with the ideas and the ability to execute them. They seek talent involved in the process of creating hardware, software, materials, marketplaces and maker spaces.
Encouraging those who want to break further barriers with 3D printing to apply, those who receive the financial investment also have the privilege of becoming ‘Spark partners.’ Further marketing and development resources are available to those involved in the Spark partnership.
“The days of taking a closed, top-down approach to innovating for additive manufacturing are behind us. Numerous industries recognize the value of tapping into entrepreneurs or startups with better ideas and approaches, and 3D printing is no exception,” said Samir Hanna, vice president and general manager, Consumer Products and 3D Printing, at Autodesk. “The Spark Investment Fund will empower innovators to improve 3D printing, and to help us unlock the tremendous promise of this technology.”
As the name suggests, the Spark Investment Fund links to and furthers the cause of Autodesk’s Spark open software platform announced early this year, still in development, as is their 3D printer, the Ember—which will be an open hardware machine designed to highlight the capabilities of their software.
Spark endeavors to support and redefine the world of 3D printing with a software platform that provides a more standard level which is free to anyone who is interested in the technology. Their goal is to connect digital information to 3D printers with a revolutionary new platform that will not be hardware or material specific.
Those making the decisions at Autodesk are obviously aware that even with all the correct ingredients in place, lack of funding can be the one thing that prohibits companies and individuals from breaking barriers and developing crucial, innovative products that can benefit the world. To find out more about applying, click here.
Additionally today Autodesk announced a partnership with Authentise, a leading licensing platform for 3D printing. They provide a framework and layer of protection to those looking to secure their intellectual property. Autodesk will be integrating features found within the Authentise platform into their various software applications. In doing so, they will be providing their users with the ability to secure their designs from unwanted downloading, and use.
“Authentise understands the needs at the frontier of 3D printing thanks to the ground-breaking 3D printing pilots built by its service team for Fortune 100s,” commented Andre Wegner, CEO of Authentise. “The combination of Autodesk’s and Authentise’s tools is a powerful start to addressing these challenges, and we are excited to collaborate on additional development to make distributed manufacturing a global reality.”
This partnership should provide some of the largest brands out their the ability to freely distribute their designs without the fear of intellectual property theft.
“As 3D printing becomes more widely adopted by both corporations and consumers alike, protecting intellectual property is more important than ever,” said Samir Hanna, general manager and vice president, 3D Printing at Autodesk. “Autodesk and Authentise are working together to incorporate IP protection as a standard feature in the 3D printing process.”
Let’s here your thoughts on both these moves made by Autodesk, in the Spark/Authentise forum thread on 3DPB.com.