The Formnext Start-up Challenge: Recognizing and Supporting Innovative Start-Ups in Additive Manufacturing


Whether it be through new 3D printers, innovative materials, or intelligent software solutions; the novel and sustainable business ideas of innovative, young companies are shaking up the additive manufacturing (AM) market. The international Formnext Start-up Challenge, now in its fifth year, aims to recognize this. Applications are now being invited from companies that are no more than five years old.

The Start-up Challenge will take place at the Formnext, from November 19–22, 2019, in Frankfurt am Main, and is being organized in cooperation with the UnternehmerTUM Center for Innovation and Business Creation. UnternehmerTUM identifies innovative technologies and supports start-ups and applications in the field of AM at every stage of development.

According to Sascha F. Wenzler, Vice President Formnext at the exhibition organizer Mesago Messe Frankfurt GmbH, “Over the past five years, the Start-up Challenge has evolved into an internationally acclaimed competition, attracting start-ups from all around the world.”

Accelerating business development
The Formnext Start-up Challenge has helped numerous young companies to accelerate their business development and successfully set course for the future. Former winners such as 3YOURMIND, DyeMansion, Sinterit, trinckle 3D and Xioneer have meanwhile made a name for themselves internationally and return to Formnext as established exhibitors.

Tobias Kuhl, member of the judging panel and Senior Project Leader at UnternehmerTUM, explains, “We are looking for companies that solve a genuine customer problem. This might be by delivering considerable time and cost savings, improving the quality of the end product significantly, or by increasing the user-friendliness and accessibility of AM.”

Impressive exhibition and marketing package for the winners
The panel will select a total of five winners who will all receive an impressive Formnext exhibition and marketing package. At Formnext’s international Start-up Area, the winning start-ups will have the opportunity to meet potential customers, investors, or experts from all around the world seeking an early glimpse into the future developments of the additive manufacturing world. The winners’ package includes, among other things, a fully equipped 9 m² exhibition booth in the Formnext 2019 Start-up Area and inclusion in all relevant and worldwide Formnext marketing and communication activities. The companies will also have the opportunity to take part in a pitch event, at which they will give a short product presentation, and receive business coaching.

The panel of high-profile representatives from the media, industry, investment, and research sectors includes Kristian Arntz (Managing Director and Partner, ACAM), Stefanie Brickwede (Head of 3d printing@DB and Managing director of “Mobility goes Additive”), Arno Held (Chief Venture Officer, AM Ventures), Tobias Kuhl (Senior Project Leader, UnternehmerTUM), Alexander Oster (Director Additive Manufacturing, Autodesk), and Michael Petch (Editor-in-Chief, 3D Printing Industry). The winners will be announced in the fall of 2019. The closing date for entries is June 30, 2019.

Any up-and-coming company with a product or service that is market-ready in terms of customers, product status, and revenue can take part, provided the start-up is not majority-owned by an established company and was founded after December 31, 2013.

For more information, visit

Background information on Formnext
Formnext is the leading trade fair for Additive Manufacturing and the next generation of intelligent manufacturing solutions. It focuses on the efficient realization of parts and products, from their design to serial production. Formnext shows the future of innovative manufacturing. Formnext is organized by Mesago Messe Frankfurt GmbH. (

About Mesago Messe Frankfurt
Mesago, founded in 1982 and located in Stuttgart, specializes in exhibitions and conferences on various topics of technology. The company belongs to the Messe Frankfurt Group. Mesago operates internationally and is not tied to a specific venue. With 140 members of staff Mesago organizes events for the benefit of more than 3,300 exhibitors and over 110,000 trade visitors, conference delegates and speakers from all over the world. Numerous trade associations, publishing houses, scientific institutes and universities work with Mesago closely as advisers, co-organizers and partners. (

Background information on Messe Frankfurt
Messe Frankfurt is the world’s largest trade fair, congress and event organizer with its own exhibition grounds. With more than 2,500* employees at 30 locations, the company generates annual sales of around €715* million. Thanks to its far-reaching ties with the relevant sectors and to its international sales network, the Group looks after the business interests of its customers effectively. A comprehensive range of services – both onsite and online – ensures that customers worldwide enjoy consistently high quality and flexibility when planning, organizing and running their events. The wide range of services includes renting exhibition grounds, trade fair construction and marketing, personnel and food services. With its headquarters in Frankfurt am Main, the company is owned by the City of Frankfurt (60 percent) and the State of Hesse (40 percent). For more information, please visit our website at:

*preliminary figures 2018

Background information on TCT (Content Partner)
Since 1992 the TCT Group’s mission has been to accelerate the adoption of 3D technologies for design, development and manufacture across all industry sectors. Through events, publications, websites and digital products TCT delivers business-critical insights on 3D printing, additive manufacturing, CAD/CAE, metrology and inspection, as well as traditional manufacturing processes such as molding, casting and CNC machining. The TCT Group is owned by Rapid News Publications Ltd (, part of Rapid News Communications Group. (

Background information on the Working Group Additive Manufacturing (Honorary Sponsor)
Within the Working Group Additive Manufacturing, more than 120 companies and research institutes collaborate under the direction of the German industry federation VDMA. Here, plant engineers; component and material suppliers; industrial companies that work with metals and plastics; service providers in software, manufacturing, and processing; and numerous researchers all work toward the same goal: the industrialization of additive manufacturing techniques. (

Source: Mesago

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