Shortly on the heels of launching a lawsuit against competitor Markforged, Continuous Composites has closed a $17 million Series A financing round. Led by B. Riley Financial subsidiary B. Riley Venture Capital (BRVC), this is the Idaho startup’s fifth funding round, bringing it to a total of $20.7 million in financing. Previous capital has been received by materials developer Arkema and centuries-old construction materials giant Saint-Gobain.
Continuous Composites says that the funding will aid in bringing its proprietary Continuous Fiber 3D Printing (CF3D) technology to market while “advancing and protecting its patent portfolio”. In other words, it sounds as though some of these funds will be used in its lawsuit against Markforged, the first to commercialize the 3D printing of continuous reinforcement fibers, but perhaps not the first to patent it?
CF3D is a unique technology that feeds continuous reinforcement fibers into a 3D printing head, where it is saturated with a photopolymer matrix material. As it exits the printhead, it is cured in place. The technology has been shown mounted to industrial robotic arms capable of 3D printing materials in mid-air. In addition to 3D printing with a variety of materials, the company is able to embed electronics and other functional items into the prints as they are built. This has fueled Continuous Composites’ work with the U.S. Air Force.
Todd Sims, BRVC President, will be joining the board of the startup. About the company, Sims said, “We are thrilled to partner with Tyler and the entire Continuous Composites team as they bring their disruptive technology to the market. We were drawn to Tyler’s vision and leadership, the attractive revenue and margin profile of the business, and their blue-chip customers, both industrial and governmental, which we see as clear validation of the CF3D technology.”
It will be exciting to see how the startup’s technology is used by customers when it finally makes it market officially. It will have a growing number of savvy competitors to fight against, in addition to Markforged, including Arevo, Impossible Objects, CEAD, Fortify, Anisoprint, and 9T Labs. Given that it may have the earliest patent on continuous carbon fiber reinforcement for 3D printing, does that mean that some of these businesses will have to look over their shoulders? If it targets Markforged on the desktop, will it also target Arevo for large-format continuous carbon fiber 3D printing?
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