Technology firm Structured Polymers, founded by several
The money will help the Austin firm develop and sell "ink," or specialty polymer powders, used for commercial 3D printers, which can replicate an array of products, such as parts used in the aviation, automotive and medical industries.
"3D printing is not a fad, but the impetus for a new industrial revolution in the U.S.," MicroVentures President
The move signals significant potential for the Austin startup, as 3D printing has quickly grown to a
This year, key hardware patents are slated to expire that helped keep costs for commercial 3D printers astronomically high -- the printers can cost anywhere from
The printers could give manufacturers key advantages, Clark said. For example, rather than having to store inventory, companies could theoretically have the 3D printers on hand to replicate products based on real-time demand.
Structured Polymers, which was launched in 2012 through the Austin Technology Incubator, has developed a new, proprietary manufacturing method, which is patented, using so-called Selective Laser Sintering, or SLS, that increases the types of materials, or polymers, the 3D printers can use. The firm's team is comprised of five team members, including founder and CEO
The effort "will help revolutionize final-part manufacturing through better and stronger materials," the company said.
The firm says their 3D printer "ink" will offer more manufacturing applications at a lower cost.
MicroVentures, which merges crowdfunding with the venture capital industry, led a funding round that involved about 65 investors that helped the Austin-based startup reach the
"It is very cool, this is our largest raise and it just happens to be an Austin company," Clark said.
Structured Polymers said they chose to go with crowdfunding over traditional venture funding because it was a quicker route to raise money.
"We are at a major turning point in the 3D printing industry due to 20-year-old hardware patents expiring," said
MicroVentures is one of the oldest equity crowdfunding paltforms in the country, and the company took the rare step of also holding a seat on the board for Structured Polymers. The firm operates "like an online venture capital investment bank," MicroVentures President
"This deal is the perfect example of our ability to combine the best aspects of both venture capital and equity crowdfunding," Clark went on to say. "We not only offer mentorship and market research to our startups, but also the ability to quickly raise money from a growing online network of accredited investors."
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