Formnext Accepting Entries for Start-up Challenge

Applications are now being invited from companies no more than 5 years old, by July 14, 2023.

Applications are now being invited from companies no more than 5 years old, by July 14, 2023.

Formnext Start-Up Challenge press photo. Image courtesy of Messago Messe Frankfurt GmbH/ Marc Jacquemin.

Now in its ninth year, the Formnext Start-up Challenge recognizes young and innovative companies from the world of additive manufacturing. The challenge rewards new, creative and viable business ideas—and sustainability also plays a role. Applications are now being invited from companies no more than 5 years old, by July 14, 2023.

The Formnext Start-up Challenge provides up-and-coming companies with the opportunity to showcase what they do on the world’s AM platform and to meet new customers as well as partners and investors. From November 7-10, 2023, start-ups at Formnext will also experience a trade fair experience within an industry of technological innovators, where relevant key players, such as other developers, designers and experts, inspire each other. With more than 600 exhibitors already registered, Formnext 2023 is heading for new record figures and is a platform for the challenge winners to become part of the AM community.  

“The Formnext Start-up Challenge aims to support young companies in the long term. We offer the winners a highly attractive package enabling them to showcase what they do alongside the elite of the global AM world and inject fresh impetus into the international manufacturing industry,” explains Sascha F. Wenzler, vice president Formnext at event organizer Mesago Messe Frankfurt GmbH.

Impact on Business Success

The Formnext Start-up Challenge has demonstrated its relevance to the international investment and start-up scene, according to past winners. As Dr. Alexander Kostenko, CEO of Photosynthetic B.V., winner of the Start-up Challenge 2022, explains, “... we made more useful contacts in the 4 days at Formnext than we had in the previous 18 months. This once again accelerated our business in the right direction.”

In addition to the 3D-printed award, sponsored by Voxeljet, the five winners will each receive a Formnext exhibition and marketing package, which includes a fully equipped exhibition booth in the Formnext 2023 Start-up Area and inclusion in all Formnext PR activities. In addition, as part of Formnext, the winners can participate in a pitch event on the Industry Stage to be broadcast live on Formnext.TV, giving them the opportunity to impress investors, companies and customers with a brief presentation of their products or services.

Additional Award for Sustainability

The Formnext Start-up Challenge will also focus on sustainability. The AM Ventures Impact Award worth €5,000 recognizes start-ups who are leading sustainability efforts.

“Additive manufacturing has become an important technology with huge potential to resolve global sustainability challenges,” explains Arno Held, managing partner at AM Ventures. “We are on the way to a sustainable and resource-efficient society, and start-ups are particularly well placed to drive this transformation in traditional manufacturing.”

Benefits of the Start-up Challenge for the AM world are emphasized by jury member Professor Peter Mayr, head of the Chair of Materials Engineering of Additive Manufacturing at the Technical University of Munich. “The Formnext Start-up Challenge is a unique opportunity for AM start-ups to expand their network, receive feedback from potential customers and industry experts, and evaluate their business models,” says Mayr. “Only through this collaboration between start-ups, science, and industry can we develop the AM applications of tomorrow and increase the maturity level of AM across domain boundaries.”

The challenge's jury includes Professor Kristian Arntz, professor for Manufacturing Technologies and Machine Tools at the FH Aachen and chief executive officer of the Fraunhofer ICNAP, Stefanie Brickwede, head of Additive Manufacturing@Deutsche Bahn and managing director of the “Mobility goes Additive” network, Arno Held, managing partner of AM Ventures, Alexander Oster, director Additive Manufacturing at Autodesk, and Michael Petch, editor in chief at 3D Printing Industry.

Companies can participate in the Formnext Start-up Challenge if they are no more than 5 years old, have a marketable product and generate annual sales of less than €10 million. Start-ups that have already won a package for the Start-up Area or have a majority shareholder and more than €10 million in annual sales are not eligible to take part.

The winners will be announced in September 2023. 

Sources: Press materials received from the company and additional information gleaned from the company’s website.

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