AM Ventures Raises €100M for New 3D Printing Startups

Formnext Germany

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AM Ventures has had a long string of investments in 3D printing, giving money to 17 additive manufacturing (AM) firms, including Dye Mansion, Conflux, LightForce Orthodontics, Additive Drives, Lithoz, Cubicure, Sintratec, Incus, Exmet, Elementum, Spectroplast, Headmade Materialis, and Metshape. The 3D printing-focused venture capital fund seems to have made some very smart investments. Now, AM Ventures has raised an additional $100 million to pour into the sector.

Principals of AM Ventures Holding GmbH. Image courtesy of Tobias Hase.

The company has seen investment from family offices, founders and asset managers.

“The fact that portfolio company founders are now investing in our fund is a great validation of our exceptional effort. We are proud of the high-level commitment and trust from prime investors that support us on our mission to leading sustainable additive revolutions,” said Johann Oberhofer, managing partner at AM Ventures.

Arno Held, managing partner, added, “The additive manufacturing industry has shown steady and strong growth over the last decade and startups have played a crucial role during this time. We are convinced that startups will continue to be key in providing the innovation required to finally bring the digital world to the real world, and that they will help to produce industrial goods in a sustainable manner and thus strengthen supply chains and tackle climate change.”

Exmet’s Bulk Metallic Glass Materials

AM Ventures as a 3D Printing Boon

AM Ventures is a boon for our industry. By judging them on their performance and progress, institutional and private investors can be exposed to and get excited about 3D printing. If AM Ventures does well, then we will do well as a whole industry because, aside from payouts to staff, these investors are going to plough money back in and raise more when their startups do well. In that way, they can be an engine for our industry and help accelerate our growth.

It’s difficult to judge the firm’s success in capital allocation thus far. If you would have given me a pot of money, I would have loved to spend it on Conflux, Spectroplast, Additive Drives, Exmet, Dye Mansion and Headmade. I love Spectroplast‘s technology team and go-to-market. I appreciate Conflux as a company and its technology, as well. Additive Drives could power a number of cars if it can industrialize the 3D printing of electric motor parts. Dye Mansion may be an integral part of everyone firm’s powder workflow. Exmet could use its bulk metallic glass materials to make very long-lasting parts with a great deal of IP protection, while Headmade may be a new path to low-cost metal components.

In that way, it seems as though AM Ventures is enthusiastic about the startups that can both accelerate 3D printing while growing to become very large businesses. Only time will tell how successful the fund is.

A Financial Life Raft for 3D Printing

In a few short months, the sector has gone from cash sloshing around aplenty to a money drought. This means that the capital raise by AM Ventures is now more important than it was a half a year ago. Amid a dearth of money, the company could supply crucial funding to a group of companies worldwide at an important stage of growth.

Money is now more precious and dear to obtain, but also less valuable, so this makes for a rather delicate time to be running a VC fund. Future money is more circumspect still, with less enthusiasm and lower returns expected on future cash. However, if AM Ventures continues to delve down deep into 3D printing and perform the ultimate smart money play, then the firm’s fortunes will rise along with the industry’s.

I hope that we will in the future see more strategic investment and more players similar to AM Ventures. Dumb money has really gotten us somewhere, but perhaps not laid the groundwork for a sustainable AM future for everyone.

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