Wellington Scoop

Wellington start-up raises $11m to make metal casting as easy as microwaving


News from Foundry Lab
Digital metal casting startup Foundry Lab emerged from stealth today, announcing an US$8M Series A raise led by Blackbird and showcasing their ability to create functional metal parts in less than a day. With growing interest from automotive industry giants and backed by the likes of Peter Beck of Rocket Lab, the startup is on a mission to make metal casting as easy as a microwave dinner.

Based in Wellington, Foundry Lab has developed microwave casting technology that makes same-day turnaround of metal castings possible. These production-identical parts have applications in mass manufacturing industries where metal 3D printing cannot reach.

Existing casting systems like investment casting, 3D printed sand molds and die-casting suffer from a one to six week minimum production time. Instead, brake shoes cast by Foundry Lab went from CAD files to cast aluminum parts in less than 8 hours. Foundry Lab’s Digital Metal Casting (DMC) system allows users to create metal parts in any casting alloy for functional testing before committing to mass production.

In addition to Blackbird, new investors GD1, Icehouse and K1W1 invested in the Series A round. Existing investors Founders Fund, Promus and WNT Ventures also participated.

“3D printing is great for look-alike parts, but the world runs on real parts, and metal printing can never produce a real casting,” says Foundry Lab CEO and founder David Moodie. A former industrial designer, Moodie began working on the idea of prototyping production-identical metal castings in 2018. “I soon discovered that a foundry just doesn’t fit in an R&D lab, so instead the approach became how can an R&D team make metal castings in-house without becoming a foundry?”

As the company emerges from stealth, Moodie says the team’s focus on production-identical metal castings is being proved out with the successful production of parts like the brake shoes. “We’re able to work at speeds 3D printing can only dream of.”

“Foundry Lab has the chance to impact industries and redefine how products are developed – it’s an ambitious mission and one that we’re excited to support” says Samantha Wong of Blackbird Ventures. “We loved the first principles approach that David and the team have taken, and we’re excited to help them scale globally.”

Moodie says bringing together deep domain experts such as Beck and Iagnemma alongside some of Australia and New Zealand’s leading investors was important for the company’s global growth aspirations. “Our R&D is in New Zealand but our markets are offshore. Blackbird’s global focus, experience across so many industries and their team on the ground with us in New Zealand makes them our ideal partner.”

The Series A investment will help Foundry Lab scale the team with roles in RF/microwave engineering, mechatronics, mechanical, simulation and software engineering hiring at the moment.