High-speed 3D printer manufacturer LuxCreo (清锋时代) closed a series B round of financing of $30 million to advance development on its LEAP 3D printing technology, as China seeks to close the gap on the adoption of 3D printing. The new round is led by Kleiner Perkins and followed by Shunwei Capital (顺为资本) and Northern Light VC(北极光创投).
Founded in 2016, LuxCreo is dedicated to large-scare 3D-printing manufacturing, covering software, hardware and materials. With a technology team from Tsinghua University, University of Cambridge and Imperial College London, the company has developed its trademarked LEAP (Light Enabled Additive Production) technology, that enables 3D printing speed jump by 100 times. The process is very similar to that developed by Silicon Valley firm Carbon (which was partly financed by Google) and other similar high speed planar processes. The base technology for this type of layerless photopolymerization process was actually initially patented by EnvisionTEC. The maximum printing speed could reach 120 cm/h.
According to Equal Ocean, the news and business consultancy firm that reported the news, China only caught up with the trend around 2014. According to Qianzhan Intelligence, the industry developed rapidly from 2015 to 2017, with a growth rate of over 100% year-over-year. From 2017 to 2018, growth slowed to around 25%. China’s 3D printing market was estimated to worth USD1.8 billion in 2018. Additive manufacturing technology is a priority for China, according to the China Daily.
LuxCreo has developed a beta version of customized 3D printed sole design software, enabling personalized sole data and models. At the same time, the company works on elastic material upgrade and expects to use it in mass production of soles with the help of LEAP technology.
Carbon, LuxCreo’s U.S. counterpart, partnered with Adidas in 2017 who wanted to escape the limitations of traditional footwear manufacturing. They have launched Futurecraft 4D shoes and put into mass production, with over 5,000 pairs released in 2017 and an additional 100,000 in 2018. The partnership shortens the period of shoe production from around 15-18 months to 11 months.