Pro race driver Lucas Di Grassi is investing in Roboze, an Italian manufacturer of high-temperature 3D printers with customers in various industries ranging from aerospace to healthcare. The undisclosed funds will help accelerate the adoption of additive manufacturing in motorsport, particularly for the sustainable and smart production of racing vehicles.
A pioneer and promoter of the Formula E World Championship––the first international high-level championship based on 100% electric cars––Di Grassi stands out internationally for his stance in sustainability and technology, using sport as a means for this transformation. For the native Brazilian, racing has been a leading passion in his life, having been behind the wheel since he was only ten years old and making his first debut as a race driver. Today he boasters 12 victories and 36 podium finishes at the Formula E and is the most successful driver in the field after eight seasons.
Outside the championship circuits, Di Grassi is an advisor and investor in electric mobility and racing companies, technology funds, and sustainability events. A United Nations (UN) ambassador for clean air, the 37-year old racing veteran, promotes the use of electric vehicles to remove pollution from cities and has drawn attention to the irreversible consequences of global warming by driving his all-electric car on the Arctic ice cap in Greenland to raise awareness about the erosion of ice in the Arctic.
“My long-term vision is to create a better world using cutting-edge technologies.”, says Lucas di Grassi. “In Roboze I have recognized a 3D printing technology with a completely revolutionary approach to its production and its effects on our planet. A delocalized production, guided by solutions specifically designed to rethink how objects are produced today in a more sustainable way. “
As the latest investor in Roboze, Di Grassi will join the Technology Committee, which boasts influential personalities such as Sandro De Poli, the President of GE Aviation business Avio Aero and Steven Gonzalez, one of the world’s leading experts in the space industry and retired NASA strategist.
Commenting on the new addition to the company’s Technology Committee, Roboze CEO and Founder Alessio Lorusso said he talked with Di Grassi for just 15 minutes before deciding to “share this journey together.” The 3D printing expert described the race car’s driver commitment to sustainability efforts as one of the reasons for the deal and said Di Grassi’s desire to make this world “a better place to live for us and for future generations” inspired him.
“I am delighted to welcome ABB Formula E World Champion and sustainability ambassador Lucas Di Grassi among Roboze’s investors,” pointed out Lorusso. “Having investors who share my same vision where profits meet better use of natural resources and where financial sustainability turns into environmental sustainability is extremely important to me.”
As a provider of industrial 3D printing solutions specializing in metal replacement with super polymers and composite materials, Roboze claims its 3D printers are the most accurate and repeatable.
Founded in Bari in 2013, Roboze began to design and produce extremely precise 3D printers, which in the following years were used in sectors such as aerospace, motorsport, defense, energy, medicine, manufacturing, with customers like GE, Bosch, Dallara, KTM, and Airbus. Aside from its line of fused-filament-fabrication 3D printers, Roboze is known for its “superpolymer” ultra-rigid thermoplastics and its Roboze Distributed Manufacturing model. Notably, the concept involves specialized 3D printing centers distributed globally, which produce parts near the point-of-use to reduce transportation costs and warehouse inventory.
As described by the business, Roboze Distributed Manufacturing is the vision of the company that aims, through its systems, to reduce production costs, optimize supply chains around the world, and bring social, territorial, and environmental benefits.
Earlier this year, Roboze announced a multi-million dollar investment by a slew of new backers, including Lagfin, the holding company for Italian liquor firm Campari and Luca Giacometti, the CEO of the blank check company Galileo which propelled Shapeways to go public. This second venture round completed in December 2021 followed the first round with investors like Alfredo Altavilla, President of the Italian government-owned ITA Airways, and Boris Collardi, former CEO of Swiss banking house Julius Baer.
Although both rounds and Di Grassi’s investment were undisclosed, the company suggests investments and revenues are both in the millions. According to the Italian media outlet, Il Sole 24 Ore Roboze’s success has already translated into its balance sheet, increasing eightfold its 2018 revenues, roughly €1 million.
In particular, 2021 was a year of solid growth for the company, which plans to continue expanding in Italy, Germany, and the U.S. Focused on redesigning the global supply chain through its patented ultra-precise 3D printing technology for super materials, it hopes to create a new circular and sustainable production model, in line with Di Grassi’s own plans. Together, they can develop innovative solutions for new auto racing models, influencing not only the main racing categories in the world but also trickling down to the automotive industry.
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