The Week in Advanced Manufacturing Funding – January 16, 2015

Stratasys strengthens Southeast Asian distribution channels and New Capital Fund II gets a new investor

After the excitement of last week, the advanced manufacturing funding scene has been relatively quiet, apart from the the 3D-printed rocket exploits of prominent venture capitalist Steve Jurvetson. That said, there were a couple stories worth noting:

Stratasys gets serious about distribution in Southeast Asia

On January 15, reported that Stratasys Asia Pacific had entered into a partnership with five distributors to strengthen their presence in Southeast Asia. The move indicates the growing demand for additive manufacturing technology in Southeast Asia, particularly Singapore, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Thailand. Given the area’s growth in manufacturing in recent years, it shouldn’t be surprising that Southeast Asia should be an important market for printer manufacturers. Although decentralized, local manufacturing (as opposed to mass-production) is one of the chief selling points of additive manufacturing, the technology can be used side-by-side with traditional mass-production equipment to increase the efficiency of the overall process and provide solutions that would otherwise be time-consuming or expensive (prototyping, mold-making, etc). With cheap manufacturing shifting away from China (and towards Southeast Asia), the market for new manufacturing equipment in that part of the world is one that printer manufacturers would be foolish to ignore.

Wisconsin’s New Capital Fund II’s new investor

Also on January 15, Wisconsin-based New Capital Fund II received a $1 million injection of cash from the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority (WHEDA). New Capital is currently investing out of this second fund, which is focused on Wisconsin-based early stage life and material science, information technology, and growth stage niche/advanced manufacturing startups. Within the niche/advanced manufacturing category, the fund has already made investments in high-power ultrasonic systems for high-speed materials processing (Aurizon Ultrasonics) and rotary sliding vane positive displacement compressors (Ro-Flow Compressors). While the fund is relatively small by Silicon Valley standards ($45 million) it is a good example of how regional funds can make a mark.