New Zealand digital metal casting startup Foundry Lab has raises US$8 million (A$11.2m) in a Series A.
The round was led by Blackbird, supported by Kiwi VCs GD1, Icehouse and K1W1 as new investors, as well as Rocket Lab founder Peter Beck, Motional CEO Karl Iagnemma and former Autodesk CEO Carl Bass plus existing backers the Founders Fund, Promus and WNT Ventures.
CEO and founder David Moodie had the Wellington-based digital manufacturer in stealth mode until now, on a mission to make metal casting as easy as a microwave dinner.
Foundry Lab has developed microwave casting technology that makes same-day turnaround of metal castings possible.
Existing casting systems such as investment casting, 3D printed sand molds and die-casting have a one- to six-week minimum production time. Foundry Lab can produce brake shoes from CAD files to cast aluminium parts in less than 8 hours. Moodie’s Digital Metal Casting (DMC) system allows users to create metal parts in any casting alloy for functional testing before committing to mass production, tackling applications where metal 3D printing cannot reach.
A former industrial designer, Moodie began working on the idea of prototyping production-identical metal castings in 2018.
“I soon discovered that a foundry just doesn’t fit in an R&D lab, so instead the approach became ‘how can an R&D team make metal castings in-house without becoming a foundry?’,” he said
“3D printing is great for look-alike parts, but the world runs on real parts, and metal printing can never produce a real casting. We’re able to work at speeds 3D printing can only dream of.”
The fresh capital will help Foundry Lab scale the team with roles in RF/microwave engineering, mechatronics, mechanical, simulation and software engineering currently available.
Blackbird Ventures New Zealand partner Samantha Wong they loved the first principles approach Moodie took.
“Foundry Lab has the chance to impact industries and redefine how products are developed – it’s an ambitious mission and one that we’re excited to support,” he said.
Moodie said he’s thrilled to have deep domain experts such as Peter Beck and Karl Iagnemma supporting the company’s global growth ambitions.
“Our R&D is in New Zealand but our markets are offshore,” he said.
Blackbird’s global focus, experience across so many industries and their team on the ground with us in New Zealand makes them our ideal partner.”