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MIT Spin-off Rapid Liquid Print secures $7 million in series A funding

Germany’s HZG Group led the investment round joined by BMW i Ventures and MassMutual through MM Catalyst Fund (MMCF)

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Rapid Liquid Print (RLP), an additive manufacturing startup founded in 2015 as a spin-off from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), has completed its Series A funding. In the latest round of financing, lead investor Germany’s HZG Group was joined by existing investors BMW i Ventures and MassMutual, collectively providing RLP with $7 million in fresh funds. It’s worth noting that BMW i Ventures was also RLP’s very first seed investor.

RLP’s new class of 3D printers produces large-scale, flexible, and robust products in minutes by working inside a gel. The technology already demonstrates excellent performance in the automotive and medical technology sectors, with RLP’s mid-term focus on industrial-scale machine development

MIT Spin-off Rapid Liquid Print secures $7 million in series A funding in round led by Germany’s HZG Group and joined by BMW i Ventures
The RLP Team. Image credit: Rapid Liquid Print Co.

Schendy Kernizan, co-founder and CEO at RLP, says: “In the HZG Group, we have found an investor who recognizes the full potential of our technology and has its own track record of setting standards with the introduction of metal 3D printing on an industrial scale. Together, we will take RLP’s technology to the next level. RLP will benefit greatly from the HZG Group’s engineering expertise and network at its high-tech location in Bavaria.”

Funding a future of AM

Based in Lichtenfels and Coburg, Bavaria, HZG Group is a renowned venture capital investor, founded by Concept Laser founders Kerstin and Frank Carsten Herzog, after selling their company to GE. The group manages a €60 million strong Tech Fund with a dedicated focus on 3D printing startups. So far, the company has mainly been active in Europe’s DACH region, with RLP being their second US investment. According to RLP, the capital will primarily be used to scale production, expand the team of experts behind the technology, and build additional business areas.

Dr Florian Bechmann, CTO at HZG Group, emphasized: “Rapid Liquid Print rethinks additive manufacturing beyond the established layer-based process. It is like a new coding language into which existing processes and functionalities are translated, resulting in complex elastic components with outstanding industrial properties and fast production times. The development of an industrial-scale production machine is one of the mid-term milestones that RLP will work towards with our support.”

Rapid Liquid Print is a new 3D printing process developed at MIT’s Self-Assembly Lab in Boston. In this innovative process, a liquid object is “drawn” in three dimensions within a gel suspension. A gantry system injects a liquid material mixture into a container filled with a specifically engineered gel, drawing the desired object into three-dimensional space via a nozzle. The gel holds the object in suspension – as if in zero gravity – while the object cures during printing. The entire printing process takes minutes and requires no additional support structures to be printed. The printed objects can be used immediately without post-processing (Video download, free for use with copyright “Rapid Liquid Print Co.”).

MIT Spin-off Rapid Liquid Print secures $7 million in series A funding in round led by Germany’s HZG Group and joined by BMW i Ventures

New 3D prospects in automotive

RLP’s technology is not restricted by the size limitations that apply to most additive manufacturing processes. It enables the creation of complex and large-scale geometries using well-established materials that have been used in industry for decades. The technology also scores highly in terms of sustainability: the gel can be reused multiple times, and in the case of the current focus material silicone, the print material can be recycled at the end of the product lifecycle.

HZG Group was founded by 3D printing pioneers Kerstin and Frank Carsten Herzog, who built their previous venture Concept Laser from scratch and developed it into a global market leader in the field of additive manufacturing. In 2016, General Electric acquired a majority stake in Concept Laser. Nowadays, the Lichtenfels region in Bavaria is recognized as one of the world’s innovation hubs for 3D metal printing, with investments of more than EUR 250 million in state-of-the-art 3D printing infrastructure and facilities from various companies, providing an environment for best-in-class 3D printing ventures. Entrepreneurs Kerstin and Frank Carsten Herzog leverage their extensive technological and commercial expertise, as well as their international network of academic and industrial partners, to support this development. They also enable HZG Group to operate its own research, development, and application center, naddcon.

MIT Spin-off Rapid Liquid Print secures $7 million in series A funding in round led by Germany’s HZG Group and joined by BMW i Ventures Marcus Behrendt, Managing Director BMW i Ventures, commented: “With the HZG-Fund leading the Series A investment, we are thrilled to have found an outstanding partner renowned for their expertise in 3D printing. Teaming up with HZG and the visionary leaders at RLP, we are sure to create a winner in the space of elastomer 3D printing. The unparalleled technology from RLP has accumulated significant interest, affirming its superiority. Their success in demonstrating the potential relevance of their technology in the automotive industry speaks volumes.”

Rapid Liquid Print’s printing factory currently operates in the greater Boston area, not far from MIT. The machines are used to print customer orders across many industries, including but not limited to medical, automotive and consumer goods sectors. In addition to the innovative printing technology, the company has developed a novel software platform to control the print head within the three-dimensional gel space.

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Davide Sher

Since 2002, Davide has built up extensive experience as a technology journalist, market analyst and consultant for the additive manufacturing industry. Born in Milan, Italy, he spent 12 years in the United States, where he completed his studies at SUNY USB. As a journalist covering the tech and videogame industry for over 10 years, he began covering the AM industry in 2013, first as an international journalist and subsequently as a market analyst, focusing on the additive manufacturing industry and relative vertical markets. In 2016 he co-founded London-based VoxelMatters. Today the company publishes the leading news and insights websites VoxelMatters.com and Replicatore.it, as well as VoxelMatters Directory, the largest global directory of companies in the additive manufacturing industry.

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