Polly Polymer, a startup in China that develops high-speed stereolithography (SLA) 3D printing equipment, polymers, and software, raised 100 million Chinese Yuan ($15.5 million) in a Series A+ round. The startup is hoping to capture a slice of the fast-growing 3D printing markets in East Asia. Furthermore, it will use the funds to enhance its R&D investment and market promotion and expand its production capacity by finalizing the construction of a 3D printing smart facility in the southeastern Chinese province of Anhui.
Vitalbridge Capital led the round. The Shanghai private equity firm focused on finding leading startups in digital transformation and technological innovation has already invested in many future-oriented medical and information “next-generation companies.”. According to Polly Polymer founder and CEO Wang Wenbin, they will work with Vitalbridge to explore 3D printing application scenarios in various fields such as medical treatment, automotive, and digital consumption.
Participants in this round, which brings Polly Polymer’s total raised to $16 million, includes existing backer GSR United Capital, an Hangzhou private equity firm that re-upped in this round. New backers include SDIC Fund Management, a Beijing early-stage venture capital firm; investment management firm Suzhou Zhongxin Innovation Investment; integrated asset management company Infore Capital; and Shanghai venture firm Kehui Venture Capital.
Polly Polymer claims HALS has printing speeds that are 100 times faster than traditional manufacturing equipment; that is, it can produce a shoe’s midsole in 20 minutes. By doing so, the production cost of small and medium-sized batches is almost equal to the mass production cost of injection molding, stated the startup. Thus, the HALS printing technology is designed for industrial-scale mass production. However, Polly Polymer has also recently developed a quasi-industrial-scale high-speed photocuring printing technology for commercial applications. Suitable for new 3D printing materials, the printing speed is described as “20 times faster than traditional equipment with low power consumption and high stability.” Combined with the software platform independently developed by Polly Polymer, it is expected to provide lightweight solutions for industries like medical, dental, and industrial design.
In this specific 3D printing niche, Polly Polymer is not only competing with established brands like Formlabs or Carbon but huge domestic startups like UnionTech and LuxCreo, which are on the track of photocuring 3D printing. The breakthrough for the company, however, will come from its new facility, currently under construction. The site is drawing a lot of attention, especially since it will be a dark factory. In other words, it will be fully automated, won’t require lighting or users, and the production flow will be controlled through cloud computing so that the factory will be completely remote-controlled.