May 10, 2016 | By Kira
Hewlett Packard Inc. today launched a new venture capital unit called HP Tech Ventures, which will see the PC and printer company invest in the most promising startups in the fields of 3D printing, augmented reality, artificial intelligence, and the Internet of Things.
This new venture capital arm will be based out of Tel Aviv, Israel and Palo Alto, California, with HP’s long-time CTO Shane Wall and ‘Chief Disruptor’ Andrew Bolwell in charge of leading development. In addition, Irit Hillel has taken the role of Ecosystem Development & Venture Outreach at the Israel location, while Vitaly Golomb is Investor & Global Startup Evangelist over in California.
While HP Inc., which became its own independent entity after tech giant Hewlett Packard’s split in September, maintains that its core business is in the traditional field of personal computer and printer sales, CEO Dion Weisler has made it clear that its future lies in ‘disruptive’ and ‘democratizing’ technologies.
Nearly all focus on HP’s new business model has been on its entrance to the 3D printing industry, with its forthcoming Multi Jet Fusion 3D printing technology being teased out over the past two years as a completely ‘disruptive and groundbreaking’ force that will rewrite the rules of 3D printing.
Targeting the commercial rather than consumer market, the Multi Jet Fusion 3D printer promises to be a top-of-the-line industrial machine capable of reaching speeds at least 10 times faster than current SLS technologies, while producing 3D printed parts with superior mechanical properties, voxel-level precision, and excellent multicolour surfaces. It will also be sold at 20 percent the cost of existing industrial machines.
Yet beyond 3D printing, HP Inc. has also sunk its teeth into other advanced technologies. For example, its immersive computing, or ‘Blended Reality’ platform Sprout, which incorporates a projector, 3D scanner, touch-screen, and 3D camera into a single desktop device intended for educational and enterprise sectors. HP also recently unveiled a 3D scanning Avatar platform, with which it plans to bring ultra realistic augmented reality to the fashion, fitness and gaming industries.
Most importantly, with the newly launched Tech Ventures initiative, the HP seems to have recognized that, no matter how great its ambitions—nor how many years of experience industry experience it has to offer (77, to be exact)—the future of the new technology landscape lies in startup culture.
HP CTO Shane Wall
HP Tech Venture’s goal will be to invest in and help nurture tech startups in the most advanced technology and communication fields. It will focus mainly on strategic Series A deals in five key areas: immersive experiences (augmented and virtual reality); smart machines (home and commercial robots); the Internet of Things; and finally 3D printing and the broader 3D ecosystem of hardware, software, and materials.
While HP has not divulged just how much they will be investing in this new effort, the entire venture seems to be a wise decision on their part. Startup accelerators have clear benefits for both parties: inexperienced yet ambitious developers and entrepreneurs gain access to the mentors, training, and of course, funding they require to bring their dreams to fruition, while corporations can negotiate deals and strategic investments early on, without fear of missing out on the next big thing.
Little is known about which companies HP Tech Ventures will invest it, or the bigger picture of how this might affect the company’s entrance to and impact on the 3D printing industry. So far, the website is quite opaque, simply showing the original Palo Alto garage where HP was founded in 1939, and promising that “the place where Silicon Valley was born will power the next generation of technology innovation.”
Prior to splitting into HP Enterprise and HP Inc., the tech giant launched a previous venture firm called Hewlett Packard Ventures, which provides expansion stage capital (rather than initial, Series A funding) to enterprise startups focused on the cloud and data center, big data, and security.
Posted in 3D Printer Company
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