Evonik Invests in 3D-Printing Wearables Start-up
Evonik has made a venture capital investment in Wiivv Wearables Inc. a company specializing in 3-D printing and based in Vancouver, Canada. The minority investment was made jointly with Formation 8, a financial investor headquartered in Silicon Valley, and Real Ventures, a Canadian seed investor. The parties have agreed not to disclose the amount invested.
Starting in the fall 2015, Wiivv will use 3-D printing to produce biomechanically optimized insoles adapted to the specific needs of the individual customer. Downstream the startup plans to integrate electronic sensors into the insoles that allow dynamic data to be continuously recorded. This will enable optimization of movement sequences, such as in professional sport, and produce movement profiles that, for example, measure and predict the degree of fatigue of industrial workers.
Large production runs in 3-D printing are made possible by special software that Wiivv has developed in collaboration with biomechanics researchers. Using photographs, this software translates the individual properties of a foot into the three-dimensional form of biomechanically optimized insoles and transforms this into printing data that the 3-D printer can immediately process. Wiivv currently manufactures products at its production facility and R&D lab in San Diego, California. For production Wiivv uses polyamide 12 from Evonik in the SLS (Selective Laser Sintering) 3-D printing process. Evonik is a leading global producer of polyamide 12 for 3-D printing.
Evonik plans to invest a total of EUR 100 million ($111 million) in what it considers promising startups with break-through technologies and specialist venture capital funds as part of its venture capital activities. These investments will focus on Europe, the U.S. and Asia. Evonik currently has holdings in five startups and three funds.