Startups employing to develop impactful applications are eligible for a major new award backed by big names and big prizes.
Forward AM Innovation Award
Backed by BASF’s Forward AM, the new award is sponsored by AMPOWER, AMT, Autodesk, HP, Photocentric, Sculpteo, and Ultimaker. Industry support also comes from AM Ventures, BASF Venture Capital GmbH, Deloitte, and Women in 3D Printing. An expert panel of jurors hailing from these organizations will determine the winners of some truly excellent prizes.
First thing’s first: who’s eligible to apply? While it’s a 3D printing-focused award, please note that startups developing 3D printers, 3D printing materials, or software are not the target here, and so are not eligible. Instead, the award page notes:
“Your startup can be in any industry; we are looking for 3D printing applications with a strong focus on innovation, sustainability and scalability.
Dental aligners, shoes, tools, automotive parts, music instruments, industrial tooling and molding, medical implants, sports equipment, toys, architecture, fashion, construction… Do you have an idea for a product that would benefit from switching to 3D printing? Then it’s time to apply!”
Eligible startups include those that create products using additive manufacturing; are less than five years old; and employ fewer than 50 people. Spinoffs (e.g., from universities and medium-sized companies) are also eligible.
And the prizes? The top winner will be awarded €100,000 in goods and services. While “goods and services” may sound open to interpretation — and, in a customizable-to-the-winner way, it is — the award clarifies that:
“The winner will be able to pick any item from the overall product and service portfolio of the sponsors, e.g. printers, materials, consulting, software… Choose whatever you need to accelerate your startup.”
But wait, there’s more! It’s not a one-winner-takes-all proposal.
- Four finalists will receive €20,000 in goods and services, including two months of coaching
- €80,000 Grand Prize in goods and services for the best Additive Manufacturing application
- The Grand Prize will also include a dedicated Investor Day for a one-on-one meeting with the venture capitalists of AM Ventures and BASF Venture Capital GmbH in a personal session
- €10,000 in cash for the best sustainable 3D printing application
- €15,000 in goods and services for the People’s Award
Applying And Timeline
Applications are open now; the window is open through 28 March. As an additional incentive to apply early, the first 100 eligible applications will receive a full features license to Autodesk Fusion 360, valid through 30 June 2021.
The jury will review all applications in mid-April, with semi-finalists chosen to pitch on 28 April. From the semi-finalists, four finalists will be selected. Each of the four finalists will receive €20,000 in goods and services, including two months of coaching from experts among the sponsors’ teams. This invaluable mentorship opportunity is an immediate open door as the months of May and June build connections with a direct pipeline to expertise.
On 30 June, the finalists will pitch “in front of a curated audience of renowned industry leaders and investors.” The live pitch will determine the overall winner as well as the two additional awards. Award sponsor Ultimaker explains of these:
“The Deloitte Sustainability Award offers EUR 10,000 in cash to the startups with the best sustainability strategy, while the Public’s Choice Award will reward the startup that wins the audience’s vote at the Finals in June with an extra EUR 15,000 in goods and services.”
Ultimaker CMO Nuno Campos, who is also serving as an executive jury member for the finale, adds:
“It is Ultimaker’s vision to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable manufacturing. We provide an easy to use, flexible and open 3D printing platform that enables sustainable additive manufacturing and sponsoring this award matches well with our company’s core values.”
This award is absolutely one to watch, and we’ll be keeping up with progress and which startups are set to shake up the way things are made.