Massachusetts-based Voxel8 was co-founded in 2014 by an interdisciplinary team of scientists and engineers from Harvard University, led by Dr. Jennifer Lewis. The company is working to develop digital manufacturing systems that will change up how we design, manufacture, and sell footwear and athletic apparel around the world.
Not long ago, the company introduced its multi-material ActiveLab Digital Fabrication System, which allows for the product development, wear testing, and production runs of high-performance athletic shoe uppers, in addition to other textiles. It’s designer-friendly, enabling automation and customization with zero tooling costs. The system uses ActiveMix extrusion technology to build 3D structures and thick films with variable cross sections directly on to textiles.
The 600 kg printer, with a 600 x 430 mm build platform, allows users to digitally design and fabricate shoe uppers, and is transforming how we develop and manufacture footwear and athletic apparel today. The system offers shorter manufacturing reorder lead times, significantly reduced design cycle times, and much lower costs for freight, labor, tariffs, and tooling. This gives customers the ability to design shoes, and other textile products, that include structural features and complex designs with little extra cost – affording them the opportunity to set up manufacturing facilities that are located closer to major end-user markets, like Europe and North America, and respond much faster to consumer demand.
Voxel8 seems to be doing pretty well for itself, and has just announced a Series B investment funding round, which was led by DSM Venturing – the venture investment arm of Royal DSM.
“Voxel8 is an excellent addition to our portfolio. Its multi-materials digital manufacturing platform is poised to dramatically impact the footwear and the sports apparel markets, strategic to DSM,” stated Pieter Wolters, Managing Director for DSM Venturing.
Additional participants in this round of Series B funding include HP Tech Ventures, as well as ARCH Venture Partners and Braemar Energy Ventures – two of Voxel8’s existing investors.
“Voxel8 is uniquely differentiated as a leader in multi-material digital manufacturing, which we believe will meaningfully expand the realm of possibilities for digitally manufacturing a wide range of products. Within the athletic footwear market alone, over 2.5 billion pairs of athletic shoes are manufactured globally each year,” said Jiong Ma, Braemar Energy Ventures. “Voxel8 is well-poised to capture substantial market share in athletic shoe upper manufacturing and, more broadly, medical and smart textiles.”
The company will use the funding to continue advancing its multi-material digital manufacturing.
“Our digital manufacturing systems are revolutionizing how footwear and athletic apparel is designed, manufactured, and sold to consumers across the globe,” said Travis Busbee, the CEO and co-founder of Voxel8. “We are excited to work with this team of world-class and experienced investors. Their global reach, expertise, and funding will accelerate the rapid adoption of Voxel8’s technology for high-volume production of athletic footwear and apparel.”
What do you think about this news? Discuss this story and other 3D printing topics at 3DPrintBoard.com or share your thoughts in the Facebook comments below.[Images: Voxel8]
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