Nexa3D announced a new investment of US$55M this month.
The California-based company has been growing strongly since their launch in 2015. Currently they produce multiple additive manufacturing products, including the resin-powered NXE 400 Photoplastic 3D Printer, and the QLS 350 SLS-style 3D printer, as well as post processing gear.
The company has received five funding rounds, with the latest US$55M raise being by far the largest. To date their total investment inflow has been US$95M. The latest investment was sourced from OurCrowd, an existing investor in Nexa3D, and Saudi Aramco Energy Ventures.
Saudi Aramco Energy Ventures is the venture fund arm of Saudi Aramco, and has placed considerable money on dozens of startup companies, many of which focus on the industrial market. Nexa3D fits neatly into that envelope, as their equipment is designed for prototyping and industrial use.
In fact, last year Nexa3D struck a deal with Siemens to help integrate their equipment into Industry 4.0 environments, a capability few AM companies have been able to achieve.
What exactly will Nexa3D do with this massive amount of funding? They explain:
“This funding enables Nexa3D to bolster its manufacturing operations to fulfill increasing customer demand, scale commercial activities worldwide, expand customer acquisition and customer success operations, grow its reseller channel globally, and expedite several new products to market. In addition, the funding allows Nexa3D to extend its overall polymer technology leadership by fast-tracking the development and commercialization of several new groundbreaking polymer 3D printers, launching a new class of performance polymers, and accelerating the development and deployment of its proprietary software platform.”
Let’s take this apart.
First, they’re intending on increasing their marketing and distribution, which is of prime importance. Nexa3D is a relatively new player to the AM scene and is not yet known by the majority of the industrial market. That market is still dominated by the older players who have strong, worldwide distribution networks. Nexa3D intends on building their networks to rival the major players.
Secondly, the announcement suggests Nexa3D is developing new 3D printers, new materials and new software. That’s a very ambitious program, but the fact that they mention all three together is intriguing.
True optimized production in AM occurs only when you synergize software, hardware and materials. All must be “in tune” with each other in order to achieve the highest speeds and highest quality prints. Could it be that Nexa3D intends on synchronizing new developments in all three areas together to produce a blockbuster system?
While the company likely has the skills to do so in hardware and software, I suspect they will partner with a major chemical company to develop the materials used in this process equation, as have several other 3D printer manufacturers.
It seems we will have another major player in the industrial additive market.