Simpson and Hartner previously invested in the 3D-printing startup
This news comes on the heels of last month’s announcement that 3D-printing veterans Wally Loewenbaum, former chairperson of 3D Systems; Joe Allison, former CEO of Stratasys Direct Manufacturing; and Hugh Evans, former senior vice president of corporate development for 3D Systems, all joined Azul 3D’s investor pool.
After investing in Azul 3D’s seed round, Simpson — the former chief investment officer for GEICO and former manager of Berkshire Hathaway — cites his confidence in Azul 3D co-founder and chair Chad Mirkin as one reason that he continues to support the company.
“I’m very excited to join the board of Azul 3D,” Simpson said. “After many false starts, the 3D-printing market is on the verge of taking off. I’ve known Chad Mirkin for many years and have the utmost respect for his ability and integrity as one of the founders of this company.”
Simpson joined GEICO in 1979 as senior vice president and CIO, becoming vice chairman of the board in 1985. When he retired in 2010, he was president and CEO of capital operations. Prior to joining GEICO, Simpson was president and CEO of Western Asset Management and a partner at Chicago investment firm Stein, Roe and Farnham. He also served as an economics instructor at Princeton University and adjunct professor of finance at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management.
Hartner is CEO of ExOne, a global leader in metal additive manufacturing systems. After investing in Azul 3D’s seed round, Hartner was inspired by the startup’s proprietary high-area rapid printing (HARPTM) platform.
“This is the first polymer additive manufacturing platform that has the scale, speed and material palette to truly move 3D printing into scale production,” Hartner said. “It opens up countless new applications that are impossible with traditional technologies. I’m excited to advise a talented team to leverage this breakthrough technology for production customers around the world.”
With more than 30 years of experience in the automation, capital equipment and digital printing industries, Hartner says his career goal is to make 3D printing mainstream to help drive the next Industrial Revolution. Hartner has spent most of his career leading Fortune 500 multi-national firms. Before joining ExOne, Hartner was COO of EnvisionTEC Inc., a leading provider of 3D-printing solutions in medical, dental and bio-fabrication application. He also founded Digital Industrialist, an early stage investment fund focused on digital manufacturing tech firms and served as former president of Dover Digital Printing, along with various roles at Rockwell International.
ABOUT AZUL 3DTM
Azul 3DTM is a leading-edge 3D printing company that is transforming the additive manufacturing industry. Initially invented and developed at Northwestern University, HARPTM allows one to print 3D structures from a wide pallet of materials. The initial printers based upon HARPTM are capable of manufacturing parts at production speeds, regardless of size, with a throughput dramatically outpacing its competitors and becoming competitive with injection molding. Azul 3DTM is enabling manufacturers to transition from prototype to mass-manufacturing on a single, streamlined production platform. In combination with its proprietary industrial-grade materials, it offers the opportunity for just-in-time mass production of diverse, highly customized products.
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