Boston-based 3D printing startup Fortify, known for its Digital Composite Manufacturing (DCM) technology, has raised $10 million through a Series A funding round led by venture capital firm Accel, with participation from Neotribe, Prelude Ventures and Mainspring Capital Partners. The capital, which adds to the company’s previous seed round worth $2.5 million, will enable Fortify to launch its Discovery Partner Program and to continue to grow its team.
Fortify is a promising young company in the AM industry that has developed a novel 3D printing technology—Fluxprint—which combines Digital Light Processing (DLP) with magnetics to produce composite parts. The unique approach uses magnets to precisely orient reinforcing fibers in a part throughout the printing process. The innovative technology was pioneered by Northeastern University researchers Dr. Randall Erb and Dr. Joshua Martin.
Along with the Fluxprint hardware, Fortify has also developed a patented software, which enables users to exert complete control over the fiber alignment in each part. This means that not only can users produce composite components, but they can actually adapt and tune material properties to meet the demands of various applications.
“Now more than ever before, it’s vital that the U.S. economy has a strong manufacturing ecosystem,” said Eric Wolford, venture partner at Accel. “Fortify is uniquely positioned to help lead the resurgence of American manufacturing by using tech to produce best-in-class parts for the digital age. We’re thrilled to support the entire Fortify team as they continue to set a new standard in manufacturing.”
Fortify’s additive manufacturing technology has a myriad of potential applications in a number of industries, including manufacturing, aerospace and automotive. The new platform will soon become available to select customers through the company’s Discovery Partner Program.
Supported by the recent $10 million funding round, the startup will first focus on injection mold tooling for quick turn, lower volume runs and high performance end-use parts. The company claims its DCM technology offers a number of improvements over existing 3D printing technologies for this particular application, with part performance showing improvements of 10-100x compared to other solutions on the market. Presently, the company is supplying 3D printed molds to support customer applications and it plans to ship beta machines to select customers in early 2020.
Fortify is also exploring end-use applications with partners in the fields of electrical connectors, impellers, mixers and specialty drones, which will benefit from the ability to finely tune material properties.
Fortify Fiber Platform
Crucial to Fortify’s 3D printing platform—and indeed, any 3D printing technology—is materials. To push ahead its resin portfolio, the company this year launched the Fortify Fiber Platform which invites materials experts and suppliers such as BASF and DSM to develop high-performance resins for the DCM process in partnership with Fortify’s material scientists and engineers.
“We’ve achieved so much since our founding, and we’re eager to expand on our platform capabilities,” said Josh Martin, CEO and Founder of Fortify. “With the support of our investors, we will focus on innovation, bring our technology to new partners, and grow our product offerings.”
“Material properties are the dominant factor driving adoption of additive manufacturing across industries,” added Ben Arnold, VP of Business Development at Fortify. “Our open materials platform leverages the world’s leading polymer chemists as they continually innovate. We reinforce these base resin with fiber as we print to gain significantly higher levels of performance. It’s quite exciting that even in this early stage of the company, we have customers buying parts for use in production applications.”
$10 million to spur growth
Over the past year, Fortify has grown significantly, doubling its team and announcing its plans to move operations to a new and bigger office space. Among some of the company’s newest team members are Ben Arnold from Desktop Metal, who was hired as VP of Business Development, and Dave Colucci, formerly of Soft Robotics, who was hired as the new Embedded Systems Lead Engineer.
The recent investment will enable the company to further expand its team as it relocates this summer to the Hood office park area in Charlestown.