BMW i Ventures leads seed financing round for Rapid Liquid Print
MIT Self Assembly lab-developed tech could lead to a new family of high-throughput AM processes for elastomers
When it was first presented, the MIT Self Assembly Lab’s liquid-in-liquid 3D printing process received an enormous amount of press coverage and visibility. I have to admit that we were skeptical about it. Then BMW started to play with it and demonstrated that Rapid Liquid Printing technology held great promise for rapid elastomer applications in the automotive segment. That’s when we began to understand the technology’s potential. Now BMW got even more serious with it and, through its BMW i Ventures (which has funded other successful ventures in AM such as Desktop Metal) led an investment in the seed financing round of Rapid Liquid Print (RLP), and its gel-printing technology. RLP uses industry-standard materials, such as soft rubber, silicone and foams, to produce soft, flexible products without retooling or post-processing. Also participating in the round is MassMutual through the MM Catalyst Fund (MMCF).
Like other big names in 3D printing history, such as Zcorp and ExOne, RLP has an exclusive license from MIT. In this case, it’s for technology originally developed in MIT’s Self-Assembly Lab. The team has perfected a new printing process where a liquid object is “drawn” in 3D within a gel suspension. The object cures while printing and then is ready for use with minimal post-processing. RLP produces large-scale objects from high-grade elastomer materials such as rubber, foams, and plastics in a matter of minutes. Traditional 3D printing is restricted by slow speeds, limited build volumes, and poor material quality, which makes it unreliable as a mainstream manufacturing process. RLP changes the game for creating large-scale, elastomeric, airtight, and high-quality products in minutes.
“RLP’s breakthrough technology is disrupting the 3D-printing space by enabling the rapid printing of elastomeric structures of any size and complexity,” said Marcus Behrendt, Partner and CEO at BMW i Ventures. “With BMW i Ventures’ support, the RLP team can continue demonstrating its commitment to creating high quality, low-cost elastomer products.”
RLP’s seasoned team includes Founder & CEO, Schendy Kernizan who previously co-directed and managed researchers and students at MIT’s Self-Assembly Lab to deliver projects for the likes of Google, BMW and Steelcase. Additionally, Co-Founder & CTO, Bjørn Sparrman managed the technical operations at the MIT Self-Assembly Lab and, since RLP’s 3D printing technology’s inception, led the charge for its development. The two are joined by additional co-founders Skylar Tibbits and Jared Laucks – both Directors at MIT’s Self-Assembly Lab.
“We’ve spent years perfecting our technology and building a product that solves the pain points the 3D-printing industry has faced. RLP removes limits on design, can print large-scale and multiple objects at once, and is faster than any other solution currently on the market,” said Kernizan. “With this funding from BMW i Ventures and MM Catalyst Fund we will accelerate our ability to offer a wide variety of solutions to a broader market.”
“MMCF was drawn to Rapid Liquid Print’s unique technology, highly adaptable production process and impressive leadership team,” said Liz Roberts, Head of Impact Investing at MassMutual. “We’re excited to support RLP alongside BMW i Ventures as RLP revolutionizes the 3D-printing process and continues to grow and bring its innovative capabilities to new customers.”
RLP will use the new funds to develop their 3D printing solutions to expand within existing customers and into new customers with additional applications and materials.