Sugar Lab buys back its technology from 3D Systems
After a $16 million post-money valuation based on its 3D sugar-printing technology
Sugar Lab, a company that 3D prints using sugar, was originally acquired by 3D Systems in 2013. However, according to TechCrunch, the company’s co-founders, Kyle von Hasseln and Meagan Bozeman, have decided to reverse this. The pair is now attempting to develop the company, and the Currant 3D printer that spawned from the company, themselves.
The company started when Kyle von Hasseln, inspired by the lack of regular cooking tools, first hacked an old 3D printer to print cupcake decorations. The result of this inspiration is what we know today as Sugar Lab, a company that describes itself as being a “digital bakery,” with a focus on food-safe 3D printing.
“I recognized straight away that 3D printing with extruded food paste was too slow and rudimentary for wide adoption in the culinary world. That realization led me to immediately pivot to another 3D printing engine where thin layers of dehydrated food powder are bound layer after layer by water jet from a printhead – which allows for precise, fast, full-color 3D printing,” said Kyle von Hasseln. “That invention, now called the Currant 3D Printer, solves the fundamental problem in the 3D printed food space: mass adoption.”
The new company reacquired the 3D printing tech back in May, and is now looking to raise more money to bring the products to market.
Sugar Lab claims its printers are able to 3D print complex foods, in full color, with the ability to scale the technology for large-batch production. The printers can print several ingredients, including dehydrated fruits, vegetables, spices, and plant proteins. Sugar Lab now has one of the first NSF-certified, commercial-scale 3D food printing solutions.
“It may seem trivial, but our success is predicated on a simple design theory that every chef knows by heart – beautiful food is enticing, fun, and engaging. And our 3D printer is best-in-class at creating beautiful food because we leverage all the promise of 3D design and 3D printing – color, precision, and speed,” said Kyle von Hassln. “I am personally driven to make this new technology accessible to chefs everywhere. Chefs are artists at heart, and more than anyone they understand that well-designed food can create a completely new culinary experience.”
The company has recently raised $5 million, at a $16 million post-money valuation. The money is being used to take back full ownership of the tech and the company, and scale operations.
“After Kyle developed his culinary 3D printer, it was quickly acquired by 3D Systems, where he and I teamed up to create and run the Culinary Technology division that built the Currant 3D Printer from scratch. We left 3D Systems in 2019, backed by our investor group, to found our company and quickly became the largest purchaser of the 3D printing technology. When an opportunity to acquire the tech arose this year, we went back to our investor network, which was hugely supportive, and raised capital to wholly acquire the Currant 3D Printer platform,” explained Meagan Bozeman, COO at Currant 3D and Sugar Lab. “We’re extremely proud and grateful that the technology is back in the hands of its original inventors and champions. This has put us in complete control of
our future; we’re 3D printing food faster than ever, expanding into a much larger commercial kitchen where we will manage a 20+ printer fleet for this next rapid growth chapter, and enabling others to build their own 3D production kitchens through the purchase of our printers and supplies.”
According to TechCrunch, the company’s ultimate goal is to take 3D printed food from novelty to “indispensable ubiquity” – giving chefs new powers to experiment and make new types of food.
“Adoption of digital design and 3D printing is critically important for a more sustainable and secure food future,” said Kyle von Hasseln. “If you can download a new 3D design into a regional 3D printing kitchen, and 3D print onsite with local labor and ingredients, you can cut deeply into the inefficiencies of legacy food production that rely on trucking ingredients all over the country – both to and from factories.”