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Tyler Benster, Asimov Ventures

The second annual Additive Manufacturing Strategies summit, co-hosted by 3DPrint.com and SmarTech Markets Publishing, took place this week in Boston. In addition to more speakers, this year’s event branched out into separate tracks for medical and dental 3D printing, and also featured a workshop day, an exhibition hall, and a startup competition, which offered a $15,000 cash investment from early stage venture fund Asimov Ventures as the prize.

Tyler Benster from Asimov, whom I had the pleasure of sitting next to during lunch, informed the room that the first finalist, Les Kalman from Western University’s Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry, would unfortunately not be competing in the competition, as the weather in Toronto kept his plane from taking off, and then explained the rules of the Startup Showdown. Each finalist had seven minutes to give their pitch, and the panel of judges – Benster, GE Additive’s Stephan Zeidler, and Tuan TranPham from Desktop Metal – would then have about five minutes to ask questions.

The first finalist to present was OsseoPrint 3D, which is marketing a platform technology for implantable, patient-specific bone scaffolds that can be 3D printed on-site at the practitioner’s office.

According to CEO and founder Dr. Arthur Greyf, a dental implantologist who’s spent a lot of time and money grafting bones in his office, there is definitely a need for OsseoPrint 3D’s platform, as nearly two million bone implants were manufactured in the US over the last six years.

The startup has a working 3D printer prototype with several good features, like a particle counter, optimize algorithm for 3D printing infill patterns, a HEPA filter, and a software-controlled door lock. Dr. Greyf said that OsseoPrint 3D had a positive pre-submission meeting with the FDA last August, and that the 3D printer – which the room got to see during the pitch – should be designed and ready for final approval in the next 3-6 months.

The startup has a simple business model, which will require about $5 million to get to the market in the near future, and offers “significant time savings” in surgery, as scaffolds can be designed and 3D printed chair-side in dental offices in less than 15 minutes. According to Dr. Greyf, the startup’s 3D printer, which has never “seen the light of day outside of my office” until now, will cost about $25,000 and will pay for itself in about 10-20 uses.

Next to present in the competition was Belgium-based startup Twikit, which makes mass customization software and just launched its Twikbot platform for the orthotics and prosthetics market. CTO Olivier De Deken explained that the O&P industry has long supply chains, which can be fraught with errors, and that using both additive manufacturing and automation can result in a “scalable flow” and better end products.

Twikbot’s flexible, cloud-based platform allows the user to set their own preferences, such as patterns, before the global startup makes the production-ready file and the end brace is 3D printed. According to De Deken, the market potential for this platform in the global orthopaedic market is $52 billion.

Twikit has a fast-growing, global team of 33 employees, and is currently closing a Series A funding round. The startup generates revenue through an SaaS fee charged for use of the platform, along with revenue sharing, and future plans include looking at more complex medical products, such as scoliosis braces.

De Deken explained that its proprietary, scalable software platform is independent of external CAD software, and that because the solution is generic, it can be applied to any vertical, medical or otherwise, that’s ready for digitization.

The final startup to pitch in the competition was EXIOM, which provides 3D printed, upper extremity orthopedic casts. It was founded by husband and wife team Erik and Amy Paul, both of whom are US Air Force veterans. After he passed out examples of the startup’s casts to the judges, Erik explained that when one of their seven kids broke his arm, they wanted to find a better way to fix it without relying on a heavy, uncomfortable plaster cast that you have to wrap in plastic when you bathe.

“Our casts alleviate all those issues,” Erik stated.

EXIOM, which already has FDA certification and is beginning the commercialization process, uses the software of its European partner Xkelet and Ultimaker 3D printers to make its casts, and is working to introduce foot, ankle, and knee cast models in the future, along with a 3D printable emergency splint that should be ready next month.

The startup’s casts are very lightweight, and the quick, easy 3D scanning procedure equals more throughput. EXIOM provides support and onsite equipment training to its core customers, which include hospitals, clinics, and VA care networks.

In the middle of this year, EXIOM plans to integrate several new high speed, medical-grade 3D printers into its contract provider network for “on-site production at unprecedented speed,” which makes it stand out from the competition…which is namely ActivArmor.

Once EXIOM finished its presentation, the judges stepped into the hallway to confer, and returned very shortly after what Benster called a “lively, exciting, and brief discussion” to declare OsseoPrint 3D the winner of the AMS Startup Showdown.

In the presentation, Dr. Greyf stated that OsseoPrint 3D would need $2 million in order to completely finish its 3D printer prototype. The $15,000 cash investment it just received from Asimov for winning the competition will definitely help the startup reach this goal.

OsseoPrint 3D: Dr. Arthur Greyf, CEO, and Leonid Fayn, CTO

We’ll have more to share with you from AMS 2019, so stay tuned!

Discuss this and other 3D printing topics at 3DPrintBoard.com or share your thoughts below.

[Images: Sarah Saunders]
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