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Canberra 3D printing startup Syenta raises $3.7 million to revolutionize electronics manufacturing

Canberra based manufacturing startup Syenta has raised $3.7 million in seed funding to boost production of its exceptionally fast multi-material 3D printers.

The round was led by Blackbird, alongside Brindabella Capital and Jelix Ventures.

The ANU-based startup spent two years in “stealth mode” while co-founders Yekaterina Viktorova and Professor Luke Connal developed a multi-material 3D printer using electrochemistry.

The money will accelerate technical development and deliver more printers to early customers. The team also hires product managers and software engineers who specialize in embedded systems.

“I have experienced first-hand the limitations of advanced methods for printed electronics and am excited to be working on a method that enables true printing on multiple materials, with fewer steps and less waste,” said Viktorova.

“Our additive manufacturing method is a key driver of innovation in the electronics sector.”

The idea for Syenta came from a late-night email exchange between the pair describing a new way to 3D print structures. The result is called Spark3D. It allows users to print small electronics such as sensors and photovoltaic cells.

“In the two years since that first email between Luke and I, we’ve made incredible progress on our vision for Syenta – but we’re just getting started,” said Viktorova.

“We can’t wait to bring this brand new way of manufacturing to the world, starting with Australia.”

Prof Connal said Syenta is ushering in a new era of micro- and nano-fabricated electronics manufacturing, from a box that fits on a coffee table.

“We were trying to solve some fundamental problems to be able to print metals and plastics at the same time. The day after the first email, we had a proof-of-concept that we were onto something. Very early on, we were convinced that this might be the foundation of an impactful business,” he said.

“Syenta is democratizing the electronics manufacturing industry by enabling its customers to rapidly design and build electronics anywhere in the world. Using the Syenta printer, customers can quickly fabricate and iterate devices in-house, such as sensors, photovoltaics, batteries, printed circuit boards, antennas, and yet-to-be-imagined devices powered by additive manufacturing of electronics.

“This is a completely new way of producing. This allows us to build electronics faster, cheaper and with less energy. These portable factories can sit on our customers’ workbench, removing dependence on electronic supply chains.”

Paul Moonie of GreatCell Energy, an early customer, says the printer also improves the cost and performance of renewable energy.

“Syenta has helped us pave a path to overcome hurdles to provide high-quality, best-performing and low-cost large-scale Australian-made Perovskite solar cells,” he said.

“We are excited about our future formal collaboration projects using their products and technical know-how to give us an edge in the field in perovskite technology and product development.

Blackbird co-founder Niki Scevak said the way we make electronics has improved over the past few decades and innovative solutions are few and far between

“Syenta’s new way of manufacturing electronics has the potential to reshape the electronics manufacturing market and ease the burden on supply chains,” he said.

“We live for founders like Jeka and Luke and are happy to invest in their journey.”

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