Stratasys and DSM Venturing (venture capital arm of Royal DSM) lead the way in yet more financing for startups, acting as the major sources of funding support of $12 million total, in an equity round for Inkbit—the 2017 spinout of the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) at MIT. Headquartered in Medford, MA, Inkbit’s technology is based on research led by Professor Wojciech Matusik which has evolved into a vision-based, AI additive manufacturing platform.
“As pioneers of jetting-based additive manufacturing solutions, we are excited to help Inkbit bring their technology to the factory floor. Vision-based feedback control and artificial intelligence will take additive manufacturing to a whole new level and will help to enable its widespread use for production,” said Ronen Lebi, Vice President of Corporate Development at Stratasys.
Up until this point, a lack of technology in the form of inkjet 3D printers has held back many innovators seeking superior performance—and this means improving reliability, accuracy, and the need for planarization. Known as the company that created the first 3D printer offering vision-based feedback control and artificial intelligence, Inkbit technology is unique due to the inclusion of machine vision and machine learning.
“We are excited to partner with such an extraordinary team of industry-leading players and impressed by their entrepreneurial spirit and commitment to innovation,” said Davide Marini, Inkbit co-founder and CEO.
“The composition of this syndicate was chosen to maximize the speed of development and commercialization of our platform, with each investor bringing to us their unique expertise in equipment manufacturing, high-performance materials and applications in robotics, medical devices and life sciences tools. Our value proposition to customers is simple: we are adding a layer of machine vision and machine learning to material jetting, increasing its accuracy, reliability and enabling its use with production-grade materials.”
With this latest infusion of cash, Inkbit plans to industrialize their AM system further by:
- Integrating multi-material and volume manufacturing requirements
- Expanding the set of materials for medical, life sciences, and robotics applications
- Installing the first units for customers
Currently the Inkbit team is working with customers like Johnson & Johnson in an early access program, with a release date of 2021 set for select customers.
“Materials always play a major role in industrializing breakthrough technologies and in additive manufacturing they become absolutely critical. We are delighted to have Inkbit in our investment portfolio and look forward to helping them develop the best materials for customers world-wide,” said Pieter Wolters, Managing Director of DSM Venturing.
This round of funding included Ocado, 3M and Saint-Gobain, following on the heels of their previous and initial $2.8M round led by IMA. Inkbit is also funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the National Science Foundation and MassVentures.
Inkbit has also been in the news previously for working with companies like Johnson & Johnson, in early access programs, as well as gaining industry respect for their development of artificial intelligence products. What do you think of this news? Let us know your thoughts! Join the discussion of this and other 3D printing topics at 3DPrintBoard.com.[Source: press release]
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