It truly amazes me how many incredible startups and individuals behind those startups I have had the pleasure of meeting with or speaking to over the last year and a half within the 3D printing space. From teenagers just getting out of high school to innovative thinkers well into their 60’s and 70’s, ideas are certainly not scarce within this industry.
I recall being in attendance when 3D Hubs first step foot onto the stage at Inside 3D Printing’s Startup Competition in New York City in April of 2014. Here we are, just a year and a half later, and the company has grown by leaps and bounds, bringing in multiple rounds of financing and growing to a member base of over 20,000.
They say it takes money to make money, and this isn’t any more the case than in the very competitive 3D printing space, where it seems like a new hardware startup emerges nearly every week. While many of these companies fail before they even make their first sale, others turn to crowdfunding in hopes of obtaining enough funding, via pre-sales, to grow their businesses.
With that said, things may be about to get a lot brighter for some of the more intriguing early-stage 3D printing startups who are looking for capital. This last week, industry veterans, Alan Meckler, son John Meckler, and Tyler Benster officially launched Asimov Ventures, a ‘leading early-stage technology venture capital firm,’ which will concentrate their efforts within the 3D printing and robotics spaces.
“We believe Asimov is the first pure early stage VC fund for 3D printing and service or collaborative robots, Alan Meckler explained to us. “We are raising $30 million. We plan to close the raise [at the] end of October. The fund is based in New York City and Seattle. Focus is on US early stage investments, but we will be looking at overseas opportunities as well.”
Alan, who has an extensive background within the 3D printing and media industries, was an original investor in companies such as HowStuffWorks, AuctionRover and Tutor.com. In the 90’s he built up and subsequently sold two successful businesses, the original Mecklermedia, and SearchEngineStrategies, and now is the CEO of the new, publicly traded MecklerMedia, which is responsible for a lineup of trade shows and conferences related to 3D printing, robotics and bitcoin. Additionally, Alan is the Lead Portfolio Manager for the 3D Printing, Robotics, and Technology Fund.
Joining Alan at Asimov Ventures is his son John Meckler, who has played an integral part in the development of the Inside 3D Printing Conferences, and works in Business Development for MecklerMedia. He is also a portfolio manager and chief compliance officer for the 3D Printing, Robotics, and Technology Fund.
Finally, rounding off the team of individuals behind Asimov Ventures is Tyler Benster, a man you’ve likely bumped into if you’ve attended any of the major Inside 3D Printing events around the world. Benster is a High Tech Evangelist working with fortune 100 companies as well as startups, and a contributor to the Wohlers Report, an annual report on the additive manufacturing industry.
With $30 million expected to enter the VC fund, there seems to be plenty of opportunity for early stage startups both within the 3D printing and robotics industries. It will be interesting to see who the first companies to receive funding from Asimov Ventures are, as the fund moves forward.
Let us hear your thoughts on this fund and what it could mean for the 3D printing industry in general. Discuss in the Asimov Ventures forum thread on 3DPB.com.