Arevo Inc., a 3D printing startup that combines robotics, software, and specialized composite materials, today announced a new CEO and $12.5 million in Series B funding.
Jim Miller, named as the new CEO of the Santa Clara, Calif.-based company, worked previously at Amazon and Google. He will help move Arevo from the laboratory phase to full-scale commercialization, said founder Hemant Bheda, who remains the chairman of Arevo’s board.
The funding round was led by Asahi Glass, with participation from Leslie Ventures, Khosla Ventures and Sumitomo Corporation of Americas.
A $1T opportunity for Arevo
Bheda said he sees a $1 trillion opportunity to convert metal parts into composite materials, which has largely been unmet by the additive manufacturing, or 3D printing, market. High costs of making the parts, a lack of scalability, and lack of software have prevented many companies from achieving this, he said.
“Our insight was that additive manufacturing with robotics has the potential to address all of these three things,” Bheda said. To achieve this, Arevo has produced a combination of software, a robotic arm, and a spinning plate that can create these composite materials in a true 3D manner.
“When we looked at the current 3D printing that has been applied for prototyping, the layers are deposited in a planar fashion on an X-Y plane,” Bheda said. “Our observation was that this gives rise to weakness in the Z direction, which needed to be addressed.”
For parts that require higher strength, such as composite materials, Bheda said it was limiting to print in the X-Y plane. So Arevo started work on how to print in three dimensions through software and the use of a robotic arm that was loaned to the company from ABB.
3D-printed bicycle demo
To further demonstrate its capabilities, Arevo and Studio West announced the creation of “the world’s first true 3D-printed commuter bike,” which features a design that removes a seat stay between the seat and back wheel. This simplified design gives the bike more strength than conventional joined sections.
Bheda said Arevo’s process, which includes software optimization as well as 3D printing, could reduce the time for designing and producing a bike from 18 months to about 18 days. Bike shops could also more quickly create custom-sized bikes for their customers, he added.
The company’s business model is to manufacture parts for clients that have a need for stronger composite materials, Bheda said.
He added the company has received interest from companies in the consumer products, aerospace, oil and gas, and consumer electronics space.
“We want to prove that we can deliver on the promise we’re making, that we can make parts at scale,” Bheda said. “For us to successfully address a trillion-dollar market with this technology, we have to prove that we can make 10,000 or 20,000 parts with this technology.”
Vinod Khosla, one of the investors in Arevo, said the technology was a significant leap forward.
“Arevo is the company that can finally move 3D printing beyond novelty applications and into a mainstream manufacturing necessity,” Khosla said in a statement announcing the funding.