Impossible Objects Wins Innovation Award at Preeminent 3D Printing Conference

Impossible Objects’ Model One 3D printer has been named the winner of the RAPID + TCT Innovation Award for 2017. Exhibiting its groundbreaking Model One printer and the technology behind it for the first time, Impossible Objects beat out dozens of other 3D printing companies and experts who showcased their products and ideas at RAPID. The Model One printer will enable companies to create stronger parts, using a wider range of high-quality materials, faster and at scale.

The RAPID + TCT Innovation Award recognizes the new product or service exhibited that will have the most impact on the industry. RAPID + TCT Conference is the preeminent 3D printing conference. A committee made of up members of SME, a society of manufacturing professionals, and independent industry experts served as judges and determined Impossible Objects’ technology to be the most innovative.

“The judges awarded the 2017 RAPID Exhibitor Innovation Award to Impossible Objects CBAM technology as its novel layer-wise composites processing technology offered an innovative solution that could provide significant value to its customers and to the industry as a whole,” says Chris Williams, Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Virginia Tech, who served as one of the judges. “The award was well-deserved given CBAM’s potential for high-speed production of high-strength composite parts with complex geometries.”

Impossible Objects’ composite-based additive manufacturing method (CBAM) is revolutionary. It enables companies to use a range of composite materials, including carbon fiber, Kevlar, fiberglass together with PEEK and other high performance polymers, which allows for building the strongest, lightweight parts at scale. The Model One is fast by 3D printing standards, yet represents just the beginning of the speeds that the CBAM technology can reach. By leveraging high-speed 2D printing technologies that already exist, CBAM scales to speeds that will print hundreds and then thousands of cubic inches per hour. It is the first 3D printing project that can compete with injection molding and the same part can be used for the prototype and production.

“It’s an honor to win this award and to be judged against some of the major companies in our field,” says Bob Swartz, founder and Chairman of Impossible Objects. “We’re already seeing tremendous demand from the world’s largest companies who are looking to additive manufacturing for better material properties, a wider selection of materials and the ability to print at scale.”

Impossible Objects also announced the rollout of its pilot program with the Model One printer to select Fortune 500 customers, including Jabil Circuits, at RAPID.

The Company expects the Model One to become generally available to the public by early 2018. Interested companies that wish to be considered earlier for the pilot program should email Impossible Objects.

“It is good to see Impossible Objects commercialize its machine,” said Terry Wohlers of Wohlers Associates, an independent consulting firm focused on additive manufacturing (AM). “The product contributes favorably to the availability of options for composite parts made by AM.”

Impossible Objects’ CBAM process is the first truly new 3D printing process in more than 20 years. Conventional thermal inkjet heads are used to “print” designs on sheets of composites, like carbon fiber, Kevlar or fiberglass. Each sheet is then flooded with a polymer powder, such as nylon or PEEK, causing the powder to stick where inkjet fluid has been deposited on the sheets. Excess powder is vacuumed off and the sheets are stacked, compressed and heated. The polymer powder melts and bonds the sheets together. The uncoated fibers are then mechanically or chemically removed, and what remains is an exceptionally durable, lightweight object that was previously impossible to make so quickly and inexpensively.

The company launched their flagship 3D printing machine, the Model One boasting composite-based additive manufacturing (CBAM) technology, in Pittsburgh and on the final day of the event were presented with the award, which recognises a new product or service set to have the most impact on the industry. A committee made up of members of the SME, a society of manufacturing professionals, and independent industry experts were responsible for picking the winner of a hotly contested category. Dozens of products were launched at this year’s RAPID+TCT, but the Model One was adjudged to be the most innovative, and in the judge’s estimation, the most impactful.

About Impossible Objects:

Impossible Objects LLC was founded in 2009 with the expectation that materials sciences inventions would enable 3D printing to revolutionize the world in the same ways that computers and the Internet have revolutionized the way we live, work and play. Impossible Objects is backed by OCA Ventures and is staffed by a multidisciplinary team with extensive experience in manufacturing, additive manufacturing, materials sciences, aerospace, composite materials and engineering, and developing and commercializing new technologies.

Veterans respond well to home-based cardiac rehab, Moving Analytics, app, VA study shows

April 06, 2017
While it’s not uncommon for patients at the Atlanta Veterans Affairs Medical Center to have had a heart attack or cardiac procedure, few participate in rehabilitation programs after. But give them a smartphone-based rehab program, and they seem to take to it, suggests a small study of Veterans.

Using the home-based virtual rehab program from Moving Analytics over a period of 12 weeks, 23 Veterans felt encouraged and engaged with their recovery, which led to better fitness outcomes. With high retention rates and improved functional and clinical health, apps could be an easy, inexpensive way to get more Vets to enroll in cardiac rehab programs.

“When we reviewed our internal data, we realized that only 10 percent of our eligible Veterans were successfully enrolling in a cardiac rehab program. This made us realize that we could do a lot more to help the remaining 90 percent receive the same benefits that cardiac rehab provides,” Dr. Arash Harzand, research fellow at the Atlanta VA and co-investigator said when the pilot first launched.

To start the program, Veterans and a healthcare professional provided the data required for the app to make a clinical evaluation, from which a tailored home rehab program was created. Veterans would check in on the app daily to log exercises and metrics like blood pressure and weight, and would also connect with a cardiac nurse for phone-based coaching. Nurses reviewed progress remotely via the Moving Analytics integrated cloud-based dashboard.

The Veterans were into it, and the VA Center for Innovation-funded study had an 80 percent retention rate 90 days later. They also saw a 20 percent improvement in functional capacity and a reduced systolic blood pressure of 10 mmHg from baseline. Considering the older age range and historically low turnout for other cardiac rehab programs, the investigators were impressed at how well the Veterans responded to the app.

“What surprised us was how well Veterans embraced the technology,” Harzand said in a statement. “Our work showed us that it’s feasible to utilize smartphones and digital tools to engage and coach this population effectively.”

Likewise, care managers also reported high satisfaction with the app, and the Atlanta VA team plans to expand the Moving Analytics platform to more patients across multiple sites.

“Delivering virtual cardiac rehabilitation via smartphones is a great example of a powerful tool that can help improve the experience of Veterans receiving care from the VA to help improve both their health and quality of life” Andrea Ippolito, Innovators Network Lead at the VA Center for Innovation said in a statement.

In addition to the VA, San Francisco-based Moving Analytics works with several large health systems including the Mayo Clinic, NYU Langone Medical Center and the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California.

New Money: LogicGate Raises $1.9M to Help Businesses Automate Risk and Compliance

Deal: $1.9 million seed round

Investors: Chicago Ventures, OCA Ventures, Hyde Park Venture Partners, MATH Venture Partners, Techstars Ventures, Firestarter Fund, Sandalphon Capital, and Connetic Ventures.

What they do: LogicGate provides a platform for growing and established businesses to create highly-controlled, auditable applications, as well as “mission-critical” compliance processes. The LogicGate platform allows businesses to create a drag-and-drop flow chart of their business processes to create an app (without writing any code), or use one of their pre-created templates that cover processes such as regulatory change management, incident management and audit management. LogicGate focuses on six industries, including education, financial services, healthcare, retail, energy, pharma and life sciences.

“We’ve found that many companies have been managing critical compliance and regulatory processes with what we call ‘duct tape and bubble gum’ – using spreadsheets, emails, and even paper and pencil. That works up until a point, but when it fails it can cause massive disruption for an organization,” said Matt Kunkel, CEO and cofounder of LogicGate, in a statement. “Our mission is to provide an agile, self-service platform that automates many of the governance, risk, and compliance activities within an organization. This round of fundraising will help us begin to scale our sales and marketing operations and accelerate our engineering efforts.”

Other details: The startup was founded in 2015 by former risk, compliance and legal technology consultants Matt Kunkel, Jon Siegler, and Dan Campbell. LogicGate was a part of the Techstars Chicago 2016 class.

They plan on using the funding to grow sales and marketing, as well as expand the LogicGate platform. In the future, they hope to create an “intelligent learning engine” that can learn business processes, and take corrective measures without any employee intervention.

Blue Sky Innovation Blue Sky Originals SpiderOak raises $3.5 million to store data with ‘zero knowledge’

Is encryption enough? Ask Ashley Madison users, and they might say it’s a bare-minimum security requirement.

But data breaches aren’t the only reason individuals should care about online privacy, said Mike McCamon, president and chief marketing officer of Northbrook-based data security firm SpiderOak. He said users shouldn’t be OK with companies profiting off their identities — as in the case of Google and Facebook — either.

SpiderOak, which encrypts data on local devices, then backs them up in the cloud, announced it has raised a $3.5 million Series A funding round led by Chicago-based OCA Ventures, with participation from local investors BW Capital Partners, DRW Venture Partners and KGC Capital. The round brings the eight-year-old company’s total funding up to about $9 million.

If an Algorithm Wrote This, How Would You Even Know?

Let me hazard a guess that you think a real person has written what you’re reading. Maybe you’re right. Maybe not. Perhaps you should ask me to confirm it the way your computer does when it demands that you type those letters and numbers crammed like abstract art into that annoying little box.

Because, these days, a shocking amount of what we’re reading is created not by humans, but by computer algorithms. We probably should have suspected that the information assaulting us 24/7 couldn’t all have been created by people bent over their laptops.

It’s understandable. The multitude of digital avenues now available to us demand content with an appetite that human effort can no longer satisfy. This demand, paired with ever more sophisticated technology, is spawning an industry of “automated narrative generation.”

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Options Away Raises $3.5M led by OCA Ventures

Options Away, the first company that empowers consumers to lock-in flight prices, announced a $3.5 million round of Series A funding led by Chicago-based OCA Ventures and joined by Thayer Ventures and Chicago’s Pritzker Group Venture Capital.

The financing will be used to further scale Options Away’s solution via even more aggressive sales, marketing and partnering, including expanding into international markets – and to further build out and refine its proprietary technology platform.
CEO and Founder Robert Brown said, “Our airfare “hold” product, has put Options Away at the forefront of the exciting airline big-data and traveler engagement space. While we have already partnered with some of the biggest names in travel, this funding, coupled with the reach of our new investment partners, will allow us to further leverage our core B2B/API solutions for the benefit of new global travel partners”.

Ian Drury, General Partner at OCA Ventures, added, “Options Away enables travel companies the ability to provide consumers with a valuable service – locking-in the price of a flight. This enables the provider to engage with customers throughout the hold period, building stickiness as well as the opportunity to sell ancillary products and services. The Options Away solution integrates seamlessly into the complex and competitive travel technology ecosystem, and has been adopted by an impressive set of leading travel partners in a very short period of time. We are very excited to partner with the Options Away management team, Thayer Ventures, Pritzker Group Venture Capital and an impressive group of angels to launch the ‘next big thing’ in online travel”.

Existing investors who participated in the round include a group of seasoned European travel industry entrepreneurs led by chairman Martyn Williams. Members include Andy Phillips, former CEO of Priceline International, and Richard Downs, CEO of New strategic investors include Don Carty, Chairman of Virgin America and former Chairman and CEO of AMR (the parent company of American Airlines). Also new to this round is Howard Tullman, CEO of 1871, the largest entrepreneurial digital startup hub in the US.

Joining existing Board Members Heidi Brown, Robert Brown and Martyn Williams will be Peter Ianello, Co-founder and General Partner of OCA Ventures, and former President and CEO of SBC Capital Markets and Jeff Jackson, Managing Director at Thayer Ventures and former CFO of Sabre Holdings. Options Away also announced the appointment of Adam Goldstein, CEO of Hipmunk, as an advisor.

Recently Options Away won the prestigious PhoCusWright People’s Choice Award at the 2014 Travel Distribution Summit. They also received a 2014 Chicago Innovation Award and hold the Eye for Travel Innovation Award from 2013.

Options Away was founded in 2012 by Robert and Heidi Brown, who act as CEO and CMO respectively. The management team is rounded out by Chief Product Officer and ex-Orbitz founding member Michael Harbin. For more information, visit or follow on Twitter @optionsaway

Options Away

Iris Mobile adds $2.5 million to double staff

Iris Mobile just raised $2.5 million from Chicago venture funds Origin Ventures, OCA Ventures, Hyde Park Venture Partners, Hyde Park Angels and Illinois Ventures and Champaign-based Serra Ventures.

The Chicago-based software company plans to double its staff to 60 this year, said new CEO Marc Grabowski. Iris Mobile, founded by former Motorola technologists, got its start with software that helps marketers automatically tailor their mobile-messaging ads to display properly on different types of phones connected to different carriers.

Now it has added the capability to allow advertisers to gather data from users’ mobile activity, such as browsing a site or shopping inside an app, and combine it with information about shoppers’ in-store activity.

Grabowski is a Yahoo veteran who was hired last year. Co-founder Cezar Kolodziej is president. relevant domains .

Vista Acquires Automated Insights, The Startup Behind The AP’s “Robot” News Writing

Automated Insights — the Durham, North Carolina-based startup backed by the Associated Press, Samsung and Steve Case that has built technology to automatically take raw data and translate it into narratives that look like they’ve been written by a human — has been acquired by the $14 billion private equity firm Vista Equity Partners and portfolio company STATS, which focuses on sports data analysis.

Ai, as it calls itself, is probably most well known for powering content creation at investor AP, which in January said it’s producing 3,000 articles each quarter based on earnings reports and is going to ramp up its work with the company. When Anthony wrote about Ai, the company claimed it was producing hundreds millions of pieces of content for customers that also included Yahoo and Microsoft.

Terms of the deal are not being disclosed. “We aren’t disclosing the amount, but I will say two things about the financials,” Robbie Allen, CEO and founder of Automated Insights, tells me in an email. “Our shareholders are very happy with their return, and we were already in a strong financial position.” The company raised $5.5 million in a Series B round last summer with investors including the AP, Samsung, and Steve Case. relevant domains .

Pangea, The Netflix of the cash transfer business?

Rahier Rahman wants to change the world — a few hundred dollars at a time — by making it cheaper for the working poor to send cash back home. And he’s doing it with little more than a dozen people, most of them working out of a small office in River North.

His secret weapons? Gift cards and smartphones. relevant domains .

Automated Insights Secure $5.5M in Oversubscribed Series B

Automated Insights (Ai), the world leader in producing personalized narrative content from Big Data, today announced that it closed a $5.5 million Series B round led by Osage Venture Partners. The round included participation from Samsung Venture Investment Corporation, The Associated Press, AOL co-founder Steve Case, former SevOne CEO Mike Phelan, Court Square Ventures, OCA Ventures, IDEA Fund Partners and other existing investors. domain check relevant domains .