the robooze are coming

Italian 3D printing company to set up U.S. headquarters in Houston

Originally based in Italy, Roboze plans to expand its American headquarters in Houston. Photo courtesy of Roboze

An innovative 3D printing manufacturer is moving in on the Bayou City — and is bringing with it a need for tens of new hires.

Roboze, based in southern Italy, is launching its American headquarters in Houston. The company plans to hire up to 25 people by the end of this year and more than 50 in the next year.

Originally based in Bari, Roboze's innovative 3D printing technology is set to land in Houston in September, with more than 20 industrial 3D printers, in order to form a stronger bond with local oil and gas companies who are their clients.

"Our 3D printers and supermaterials are used to produce end-use parts and small-medium series for production purposes, replacing obsolete production methods and replacing metals," says founder and CEO Alessio Lorusso in an email to InnovationMap.

The innovative technology is used to produce strong and super-resistant end-use parts that can be used in a variety of applications including oil and gas, aerospace, electric vehicles, and defense. The 3D printing technology is already being used by major industry leaders such as Sony, Bosch, Airbus, and the U.S. Army.

"The Houston along with the Texas market is especially interesting because of oil and gas," says Ilaria Guicciardini, marketing director for Roboze. "We are very involved in the oil and gas and aerospace sectors which are areas Houston excels in. The goal is to expand our brand and be closer to the customer which can only be done by expanding into the Houston area."

The 3D printing technology uses patented systems to provide precise and repeatable printing tech that optimizes production by supplying components, reducing the post-production process, and in turn warehousing and logistics costs.

Roboze has 300 printing machines around 24 countries around the world, with its Houston headquarters inauguration in September it will become the third largest printing facility in the local area. The facilities will be able to print benchmarks and parts for all of the 3D printing company's American customers, especially oil and gas clients in the Houston area.

"We want to invest in the U.S.," says Guicciardini. "We want to create our own team to invest in customer care for our American customers."Roboze's American headquarters will be located at 7934 Breen Drive Houston, Texas 77064, in Northwest Houston. The innovative 3D printing company's American operations will be led by Shirley Rivera, the U.S. Operations Manager at Roboze, a U.S. native with extensive experience in management roles in Italy.

"We are hoping to invest and reply to the demand for 3D printing for this kind of materials with the way we do at Roboze," says Guicciardini.

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Building Houston

 
 

Auburn University's SwiftSku took first place in this year's virtually held Rice Business Plan Competition, but it was the second place company that went home with over half a million in cash and investment prizes. Photo via rice.edu

In its 21st year, the Rice Business Plan Competition hosted 54 student-founded startups from all over the world — its largest batch of companies to date — and doled out over $1.4 million in cash and investment prizes at the week-long virtual competition.

RBPC, which is put on by the Rice Alliance for Technology and Entrepreneurship, took place Tuesday, April 6, to Friday, April 9 this year. Just like 2020, RBPC was virtually held. The competition announced the 54 participating startups last month, and coordinated the annual elevator pitches, a semi-finals round, wildcard round and live final pitches. The contestants also received virtual networking and mentoring.

Earlier this week, Rice Alliance announced the seven student-led startups that then competed in the finals. From this pack, the judges awarded the top prizes. Here's how the finalists placed and what won:

  • SwiftSku from Auburn University, point of sales technology for convenience stores that allows for real time analytics, won first place and claimed the $350,000 grand prize from Goose Capital. The company also won the $50,000 Business Angel Minority Association Prize, the $500 Best Digital Elevator Pitch Prize from Mercury Fund, and the $500 Third Place Anbarci Family People's Choice prize, bringing the company's grand total in cash and investment prizes to $401,000. The company also won the CFO Consulting Prize, a $25,000 in-kind award.
  • AgZen from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, a pesticide alternative spray and formulation technology company, won the second place $100,000 investment prize (awarded by Finger Interests, Anderson Family Fund, Greg Novak, and Tracy Druce). The startup also won a $300,000 Owl Investment Prize, the $100,000 Houston Angel Network Prize, the $500 Best Energy Elevator Pitch Prize from Mercury Fund, and the $1,500 Third Place Anbarci Family People's Choice prize, bringing the company's grand total in cash and investment prizes to $502,000. The company also won the $30,000 in-kind Polsinelli Energy Prize.
  • FibreCoat GmbH from RWTH Aachen University, a startup with patented spinning technology for the production of inexpensive high-performance composite fibers, won the third place $50,000 investment prize (also awarded by Finger Interests, Anderson Family Fund, Greg Novak, and Tracy Druce). The company also won the $100,000 TiE Houston Angels Prize and the $500 Best Hard Tech Elevator Pitch Prize from Mercury Fund, bringing the company's grand total in cash and investment prizes to $150,500.
  • Candelytics from Harvard University, a startup building the digital infrastructure for 3-D data, won the fourth place $5,000 prize.
  • OYA FEMTECH Apparel from UCLA, an athletic wear company that designs feminine health-focused clothing, won the fifth place $5,000 prize. The company also won the $5,000 Eagle Investors Prize, the $25,000 Urban Capital Network Prize, and the $1,000 Second Place Anbarci Family People's Choice prize, bringing the company's grand total in cash and investment prizes to $36,000.
  • LFAnt Medical from McGill University , an innovative and tech-backed STI testing company, won the sixth place $5,000 prize and the $20,000 Johnson and Johnson Innovation Prize, bringing the company's grand total in cash and investment prizes to $25,000.
  • SimpL from the University of Pittsburgh, an AI-backed fitness software company, won the seventh place $5,000 prize. The company also won the $25,000 Spirit of Entrepreneurship Prize from the Pearland Economic Development Corp., bringing the company's grand total in cash and investment prizes to $30,000.

Some of the competition's participating startups outside of the seven finalists won monetary and in-kind prizes. Here's a list of those.

  • Mercury Fund's Elevator Pitch Prizes also included:
    • Best Life Science $500 Prize to Blue Comet Medical Solutions from Northwestern University
    • Best Consumer $500 Prize to EasyFlo from the University of New Mexico
    • Best Overall $1,000 prize to Anthro Energy from Stanford University
  • The Palo Alto Software Outstanding LivePlan Pitch $3,000 Prize went to LiRA Inc. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • The OFW Law FDA Regulatory Strategy Prize, a $20,000 in-kind award went to Paldara Inc. from Oklahoma State University.
  • The Silver Fox Mentoring Prize, which included $20,000 in kind prizes to three winners selected Ai-Ris from Texas A&M University, BruxAway from the University of Texas, and Karkinex from Rice University as recipients.
  • The first, second, and third place winners also each received the legal service prize from Baker Botts for a total of $20,000 in-kind award.
  • The Courageous Women Entrepreneurship Prize from nCourage — a $50,000 investment prize — went to Shelly Xu Design from Harvard University.
  • The SWPDC Pediatric Device Prize — usually a $50,000 investment divided its prize to two winners to receive $25,000 each
    • Blue Comet Medical Solutions from Northwestern University
    • Neurava from Purdue University
  • TMC Innovation Healthcare Prize awarded a $100,000 investment prize and admission into its accelerator to ArchGuard from Duke University
  • The Artemis Fund awarded its $100,000 investment prize to Kit Switch from Stanford University
The awards program concluded with a plan to host the 22nd annual awards in 2022 in person.

If you missed the virtual programming, each event was hosted live on YouTube and the videos are now available on the Rice Alliance's page.

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