A 3-D printing venture that got its start through Chattanooga's GigTank is competing this week to be declared the top business disruptor of 2017 at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference in New York City.
Collider, which CEO Graham Bredemeyer and company president Cacky Calderon started only 19 months ago, pitched to investors Monday a unique mold-making 3D printer that makes metal objects and equipment for companies needing limited numbers of specialized pieces of equipment.
Collider is one of the top startup ventures in the Battlefield Competition vying for $50,000 of investment funds and the Disrupt Cup trophy given to the business whose product stands to change the most the way we do business.
Bredemeyer said when he worked at the New York-based 3-D printing company known as Shapeways three years ago, customers repeatedly asked him to make their designs out of metal, rather than plastic. At the time, however, 3-D printers couldn't yet handle steel alloys and even today most 3-D printers can't generate the same edges and surfaces with metal as does traditional injection modeling.
But Bredemeyer said a machine developed by Collider know as the Orchid is capable of making metal objects in a compact, safe and affordable manner. The Orchid is still in a production- prototype stage, but it can turn design specs into a shell, or model, with a mix of metal powders and liquid binders. When the model is put into warm water, the shell dissolves and the metal part is put in Collider's furnace to burn off binder resins to create a shiny new metal object.
"We're an automated system that looks like a 3D printer but at the end of the day we are an injection- molding system," Bredemeyer said. "So this is a more familiar thing in terms of the design guidelines that manufacturers are already working with."
Collider is a GigTank graduate among among a couple of dozen startup companies pitching their business idea in the Startup Battlefield for TechCrunch Disrupt in New York City over the next couple of days.
"These companies have been training hard for the past month, while undergoing expert business transformation advice and pitch coaching, prepping to launch, fine-tuning design assets and honing their pitches," said Samantha Stein of TechCrunch Disrupt. "Teams spent time with industry experts and our Battlefield team to finesse their six-minute pitches."
Collider also is scheduled to pitch its business next month at Tennessee's biggest entrepreneurial conference, 36/86, in Nashville, where the winning business will get $50,000 of investment money.
Contact Dave Flessner at email@example.com or at 423-757-6340.
This story was updated May 15 at 11:05 p.m.