Israeli startup CASTOR has secured a $3.5 million seed funding round that will allow the firm to further develop its unique software for identifying parts for 3D printing. In addition to Tel Aviv-based Spring Ventures, the other investor was none other than Xerox, which started pushing its metal 3D printer, ElemX, this year.
CASTOR is tackling a key challenge in additive manufacturing (AM): what parts can be 3D printed? Businesses have heard about the benefits of the technology, see competitors researching and adopting it, but due to the learning curve associated with design for AM, may not know where to start.
CASTOR’s platform is able to analyze parts to determine if they are a good fit economically and technically for the manufacturing process. Moreover, it finds the appropriate materials and 3D printing method, performs geometric analyses, looks for redesign options, contrasts the cost of using traditional production techniques, and simulates the possibility of failure.
“We are grateful for this opportunity to collaborate with Additive Manufacturing industry leaders and add layers of intelligence and automation to help engineers realize the full potential of AM,” said CASTOR CEO Omer Blaier.
The software was appealing enough that 3D printing material manufacturer Evonik invested in the startup. Nexa3D also partnered with CASTOR to adopt the software. Now, Xerox is expressing its excitement about the company via this latest funding round.
Xerox has had a somewhat tumultuous history, venturing into industries that were sometimes quite different from its original product offering, such as communications and insurance in the 70s and 80s. More recently, there was some infighting on the board related to a potential acquisition by Fujifilm. This was followed by an attempted hostile takeover of HP. While the former was fought by Carl Icahn, the latter was thought to be driven by the same activist investor.
Along the way, Xerox sold its solid ink assets to 3D Systems in 2013 before launching its own 3D printing division in 2020, based on its 2019 acquisition of Vader Systems. We’re still waiting to see how the ElemX 3D printer is being used, but the company has a flashy website dedicated to it. Investing in CASTOR demonstrates not only Xerox’s confidence in the Israeli software developer, but also a further commitment to 3D printing. Perhaps, if it does follow through with a purchase of HP, we’ll have a new giant to deal with in the industry.
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