While the Securities and Exchange Commission in the United States is loosening regulations around equity crowdfunding, we have seen numerous companies within the 3D printing space turn to the relatively new funding model as a means for capital. The 3D printing file repository, Pinshape, has recently launched a campaign to raise $500k on Fundable, while MyMiniFactory also announced plans to use equity crowdfunding to raise capital. All the while, 3D bioprinting startup BioBots has just surpassed the $300k mark on their FundersClub campaign.
Equity crowdfunding allows investors to provide capital to a company in exchange for an equity stake. While reward-based crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo have become incredibly popular within the 3D printing space by offering products or services in exchange for funds, equity crowdfunding sites like Fundable or FundersClub are able to attract those who actually believe in what the company is trying to do, from a business standpoint.
BioBots, who sought to raise $100,000 via FundersClub, has generated a tremendous amount of interest among investors, raising over $310,000 as of today, with a week remaining in their campaign. The company is targeting a $2.2 billion initial market by selling affordable bioprinters for around $5,000. The business model is multi-faceted, relying on bio-ink sales for the bulk of their profits by charging $1000 per 100ml of ink.
The company has posted some rather impressive growth numbers, and seems confident in their approach. Additionally, just yesterday they announced a partnership with Khademhosseini Lab, an industry leading tissue engineering lab that is co-sponsored by both MIT and Harvard. Khademhosseini Lab will act as BioBots’ strategic partner, moving forward.
“Tissue engineering is a growing industry that is capped from exploding by tools that are easy to use,” says Danny Cabrera, CEO and Co-founder of BioBots. “By creating technology that is easy to use and accessible to enable experiments that used to be impossible. Bio-printing is only the beginning of the revolution. Our idea was we can use the same approaches that were used in the maker movement to build smaller and cheaper devices in biotech, When we looked at what was out there we found devices that existed were huge — they looked like old mainframe computers, they took up entire rooms, they cost half a million dollars and were really difficult to operate. You needed technicians to operate them.”
Prior to plunking down the minimum investment of $3,000 it’s important to understand BioBots’ key metrics which can be found here. BioBots seems to be off to a tremendous start, however capital will be required in order for the company to market their products, research new methods of printing, and expand their sales channels.
In addition to the $310K already raised via Fundersclub, a total of $775k has also been committed by DreamIt Health Ventures and Ben Franklin Technology Partners, as the company looks to add further funding in the coming week prior to their campaign coming to a close.
Fifty percent of the funds raised will be allocated to the hiring of multiple employees such as a senior pharmaceutical executive, sales associates, software engineers and mechanical engineers. The other fifty percent will be used solely for R&D, particularly the development of a Version 2 machine as well as new bio-inks. The additional funds certainly are required for the company to continue operating as they are for more than 6 months, and should provide them time to grow their sales channels before seeking additional capital.