Arevo was among the first startups to develop a method for continuous carbon fiber 3D printing at large scales. With investments from Khosla Ventures and In-Q-Tel, among others, the Silicon Valley firm was able to demonstrate this technology with such exciting products as fully 3D printing, carbon fiber reinforced e-bike and scooter frames. However, now it seems as though Arevo may be at the end of its rope, as 3D Printing Industry (3DPI) reports that many of its assets are up for auction.
Currently listed on the auction platform Silicon Valley Disposition are a number of pieces of capital equipment, including robotic arms, laser modules, filament extrusion 3D printers, and even Superstrata 3D printed bikes. Specifically, Arevo is auctioning three ABB IRB 4600 Robots and iRC5 robot controllers, various laser equipment—including a Laser TruPulse 2007 Nano, two Laser Line LDM 800-60 units, and twelve IPG Diode Laser Modules—two LMT Gocator 3D printer sensors, five FLIR A35 cameras, a handful of filament extrusion 3D printers, eight Superstrata 3D printed bicycles, and other machines.
Founded in 2013, Arevo initially focused on high-strength polymers for 3D printing while simultaneously developing multi-axis robotic arm extrusion to overcome anisotropic properties of extrusion 3D printing. Over time, the firm created what was ultimately called the Aqua 3D printer, which involved curing a photopolymer resin in conjunction with continuous carbon fiber.
In 2016, Arevo received backing from In-Q-Tel, the venture capital arm of the U.S. intelligence community, before ultimately pivoting to 3D printing mobility solutions in 2019. The flagship product was the Superstrata electric bicycle, which was being manufactured by facilities Arevo established in Vietnam. Meanwhile, it continued to sell Aqua machines to customers in France, Japan, and elsewhere.
By 2021, Arevo’s founder and CEO Hemant Behda had left. 3DPI noted that, according to a Vietnamese news site, Arevo’s Vietnamese facilities ceased operations in 2023 and shared the below video of questionable Superstrata assembly operations. From 2021 to 2023, the firm was being run by Le Diep Kieu Trang, former CEO of Facebook Vietnam, and her husband Sonny Vu.
The developments with Arevo in some ways parallel another recent story in the industry. The auction of Uniformity Labs’ assets, a company dedicated to producing metal powders for AM, similarly reflected the challenges facing startups in this sector. The sector is undergoing significant transformation as the larger macroeconomic environment is causing established firms to lay off employees while smaller startups shutdown completely.
Interestingly, Cincinnati Incorporated, which helped develop and manufacture the first large-scale chopped carbon fiber reinforced 3D printers, no longer sells its Big Area AM machines. Continuous Composites, a U.S. Air Force-supported startup developing continuous carbon fiber 3D printing technology not entirely dissimilar to that of Arevo, has not had as strong of a go-to-market strategy as might be otherwise expected. Meanwhile, other AM firms focused on chopped carbon fiber extrusion using industrial robotic arms, like Caracol, seem to be on the ascent.
Mergers and acquisitions are still expected, but it’s strange to see that, rather than Uniformity or Arevo outright acquired, their equipment is being sold at auction. It could be that potential buyers are struggling financially themselves and, therefore, unable to purchase entire businesses. There could also be other trends at work that aren’t fully clear related to the direction that carbon fiber 3D printing is taking. 3DPrint.com has reached out to Arevo for comment and will update the article if/when we receive a response.
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