Inkbit announced a massive US$30M investment.
Inkbit might not be a familiar name to all, as they are a new 3D print company. The Boston-based startup has invented what they call Vision Controlled Jetting, or the VCJ process.
It’s an AI system that uses vision sensors to ensure each layer has been deposited correctly, that is to say, it matches the desired 3D model for that layer. If there’s something amiss, such as a clogged nozzle, it can immediately correct and carry on.
This results in a reliable 3D printing process that can produce consistently good results. That’s a critical property if you’re considering 3D printing as a production technology. Early 3D printers were notoriously unreliable and inconsistent, making them a questionable bet for a production application.
VCJ is also capable of printing in multiple materials, unlike many other production 3D printing systems. Inkbit explains that VCJ offers voxel-level control, the highest level of multi-material capability possible, with closed-loop control.
Their first machine, the Vista, has actually been sold already. Earlier this year they made a sale to the USAF for three Vista systems.
Now they’ve announced a Series B funding round totaling US$30M. This is a massive amount for the small company, as the total of all their previous investment rounds totaled less than half that amount.
What’s the plan for all this cash? It seems they intend on boosting production and sales. They explain:
“The new funding, led by Phoenix Venture Partners LLC (PVP), will boost production of the company’s additive manufacturing system, Inkbit Vista, and grow the commercial team to support expansion into the APAC and EMEA regions.”
They don’t say specifically, but this has the sense that they’re aggressively selling the device. While it hasn’t been widely seen yet due to pandemic effects, it appears they’re still able to make sales and so many that they’re expanding operations.
The other factor here is the investment itself: investors would not pour in such a huge amount without great confidence the project is likely to succeed.
I’m interested to see the equipment and print samples in person — someday.