UTD 3D Printing Spinoff Acquired by Desktop Metal

Plano-based Adaptive3D is a category leader in printed elastomers for additive manufacturing, competing in a $129B industry. So it's no wonder the Boston company snapped them up.

Dallas-area startups just keep on innovating—and getting acquired. Today’s big winner: Adaptive3D Technologies, a leading provider of elastomeric solutions for additive manufacturing. It’s been acquired by Boston-based Desktop Metal Inc. and will become its subsidiary in a deal announced today.

Adaptive3D creates tough, flexible plastics and rubber-like materials one layer at a time through additive manufacturing. Using 3D printing, they build things layer by layer to develop materials for everything from shoes to airplanes to smart orthotics. The company’s solutions serve customers across a wide range of consumer, healthcare, industrial, transportation, and oil and gas markets.

Adaptive3D was launched by President and CEO Dr. Walter Voit, a UT Dallas associate professor of materials science and engineering, through UTD’s Venture Development Center. Dallas Innovates wrote about his company’s Series B investment last October, and featured its emerging tech in our 2021 Resilience Issue. 

Dr. Walter Voit [Photo: UTD]

“I’m very grateful to the McDermott family and to the leadership at UT Dallas for creating an intellectual environment that breeds success,” Voit said in a release. “Success really is luck—you’ve got be in the right place at the right time and be lucky. They’ve created that right place and right time.”

In a video, Voit makes his products sound deceptively simple, calling them “a material that when you stretch it, it will bounce right back.” He says what really differentiates his material is the chemistry.

Adaptive3D focuses on creating strain-tolerant materials used for additive manufacturing. [Photo: Courtesy Adaptive3D]

“We’ve discovered some new ways to polymerize materials that make them stronger, make them tougher, make them more tear resistant,” Voit says in the video. “This process that’s based on Texas Instruments’ huge investment in DLP chips allows us to precisely pattern light to make just the plastic we need. So that we can make parts lighter, cheaper, more sustainable—greener—and ultimately lower costs.”

Why did Desktop Metal acquire Adaptive3D? Let them count the resins why:

“Adaptive3D has the best photoelastomer resins in the world,” said Ric Fulop, founder and CEO of Desktop Metal, in a statement. “Combining Adaptive3D’s patented and superior elastomer materials with our printers, such as the Xtreme 8K (mass production printer)…will accelerate the adoption of additively manufactured solutions for high-volume, end-use elastomeric parts and products.”

The acquisition advances Desktop Metal’s vertical integration strategy, the company said, allowing it to expand its portfolio of materials capabilities. 

Voit said the acquisition will help Adaptive3D, too, by extending its strong relationship with EnvisionTEC and “enabling us to accelerate our growth into the $129 billion elastomer and flexible foams market just waiting for high-volume, additive manufacturing elastomer capabilities.”

Adaptive3D will operate as a wholly owned subsidiary of Desktop Metal, and Voit will continue leading it as CEO from the company’s Plano HQ, UTD confirmed.

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R E A D   N E X T

  • UT Dallas' program brings "together innovative ideas with entrepreneurial spirit" among the student body and the faculty. In its first decade, the Department of Bioengineering has delivered novel innovations in med tech and digital health," says Dr. Shalini Prasad.

  • The investment from Silverton Partners will help the North Texas-based company scale. "BILT has created a technology the world desperately needs. I can't imagine in five years, we'll still be dealing with paper instructions," says Silverton Managing Partner Morgan Flager.

  • UTD students, faculty, and alumni pitched their big ideas for a chance to win cash to push their ventures forward. New this year: Capital Factory presented the first-ever biotech+ challenge award. The event featured a closing conversation on the entrepreneurial ecosystem with long-time business partners Ross Perot Jr. and Anurag Jain.

  • TI says its Hall-effect sensor is "the industry's most accurate." The 3D-sensing technology is a boon for smart factories and the real-time control of devices like autonomous robots.

  • Von Perry's 21-year-old CEO, Treyvon Perry, has been preparing for this since he founded the startup at age 17. He and his co-founder, 27-year-old CTO Sebin Joseph, are pioneering a new way to build concrete 3D-printed homes using regular concrete—and aim to prove the concept for DFW and beyond.