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$43M to Drive Tiny 3D Printing Tech for Boston Micro Fabrication

Inkbit

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Boston Micro Fabrication (BMF) has closed a Series C round of funding totaling $43 million, led by Shenzhen Capital Group Co., Ltd. (SCGC). This large infusion of capital will allow the startup to continue expanding its micro 3D printing technology.

Micro 3D Printing

Founded in 2016, BMF focused on building 3D printers that rely on Projection Micro Stereolithography (PµSL) for millimeter-scale parts with micron-level tolerances. With systems of varying levels of resolution, ranging from 25 all the way down to 2 microns, the Boston startup’s microArch 3D printers are already used in a variety of sectors, including medical device and electronics manufacturing.

In the past year alone, BMF doubled its install base and now has machines installed at over 200 customer locations globally. It also expanded its operations in Greater Boston; Shenzhen and Chongqing, China; and Tokyo, Japan. With the new funding, the startup will drive its product development, sales and marketing, and customer support.

“Our business has scaled strongly, and we plan to use new capital to further expand our capability,” said John Kawola, CEO of BMF.  “Our global reach has been appreciated and valued by our customers, and our systems are now being used all over the world to both prototype parts that previously could not be 3D printed and drive end-use part production where conventional methods are difficult.”

3D printed glaucoma stents, meant to be inserted into a patient’s eye to treat glaucoma. Image courtesy of BMF.

BMF’s Micro 3D Printing Competition

The world of 3D printing tiny things is growing in size. In addition to BMF, there are such firms as CubicureUpNanoSwissLitho AGMicrolight3D, Nano Dimension’s Fabrica, and Nanoscribe. This last company was acquired by bioprinting firm BICO. UpNano and Nanoscribe are currently competing to scale these processes in order to mass produce tiny, 3D printed parts.

Microscopic screws. Image courtesy of BMF.

The technologies offered by these firms could potentially revolutionize the fields in which they’re used. They could lead to much smaller surgical devices, such as new drug delivery mechanisms or uniquely shaped laparoscopic instruments, or new types of lab testing equipment via microfluidics. In the realm of electronics, there’s the possibility of photonic computing and more densely packed, geometrically optimized circuit boards, an application that Nano Dimension is specifically focused.

Obviously, SCGC believes in the technology, which is a substantial endorsement, given the company’s 490 investments and 85 exits. Established by the Shenzhen government, this venture capital firm previously put money into Formlabs and Desktop Metal. Interestingly, all three startups are based in the area. Could Shenzen be making a play for the New England 3D printing scene?

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