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October 31, 2014

Autodesk and uBeam on funding spree

More than $100m funding for 3D printing companies and device chargers.

By Amy-Jo Crowley

Autodesk is on the hunt for promising 3D printing startups and designers to invest in after announcing a new $100m fund.

Called the Spark Investment Fund, those selected will have access to marketing and other developer services.

They’ll partner up with Autodesk by working through its 3D printing platform Spark introduced back in May.

Still in development, the open source 3D printing platform aims to connect digital information to 3D printers in a way that is more reliable, simpler and easier to control.

The company, which acquired 3-D design tool Tinkercad last year, is hoping the chosen companies will collaborate and improve the platform, its Ember 3D printer and other materials.

"The days of taking a closed, top-down approach to innovating for additive manufacturing are behind us," said Samir Hanna, Autodesk’s VP and general manager of consumer products and 3D Printing.

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"Numerous industries recognise the value of tapping into entrepreneurs or startups with better ideas and approaches, and 3D printing is no exception."

Meanwhile, wireless power firm uBeam is looking to hire staff and develop new products after raising $10m in funding.

The three-year-old company, which makes technology that charges electric devices wirelessly, closed a Series A financing round led by Upfront Ventures alongside existing investors Andreesen Horowitz, Ludlow Ventures and Mark Cuban.

The announcement brings the firm’s overall funding to more than $12m with the first product expected to enter production within two years

"uBeam’s wireless power technology can charge devices at great distances, while remaining safe, cost-effective and compact," said founder and CEO Meredith Perry.

"We will start with mobile phones, but the potential is limitless – everything from hearing aids to wearables, laptops or flat screenTVs. uBeam literally has the power to untether the physical devices that have become indispensable to our daily lives."

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