LumeJet aims to become first crowdfunded printing machine manufacturer

Richard Stuart-Turner
Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Print technology manufacturer LumeJet is aiming to become the first crowdfunded digital printing machine and printhead manufacturer.

The privately funded Coventry-based digital print firm launched its funding project on the CrowdBnk platform last month. It is looking for an investment of £2m, which will give the new investors 20% equity.

Members of the public, angel investors and anybody from the print industry can register to become an investor.

LumeJet, which was founded in 2010, develops photonic platform technology for inkless printing and patterning applications. The company is renowned for its high print quality but is less well known for the other applications its technology can deliver.

These applications include a variety of projects such as volume on-demand inkless packaging printing and the manufacturing of printed electronic components such as flexible displays, plastic logic components and low-cost sensors.

LumeJet chief executive Paul Anson said: “Our ultra-high quality range of printers is a key part of our business but we are also working on a printhead offering 50 times more output, have proven our UV printhead in the lab for digital lithographic applications and are investigating new photosensitive coating technologies for volume applications.”

The company is welcoming investors interested in investing anything from £5,000 to £500,000 in its current £2m round.

The funding will be used primarily for increasing sales of, and providing customer support for, the firm’s LumeJet S200 photonic digital printer (24.8%) and the development of derivative products (39.2%). The remainder will be allocated to securing and developing intellectual property protection (7.1%), general overheads (24.1%) and working capital (4.8%).

“There are multiple reasons why we’re doing this. Print is a deeply misunderstood industry and I spend a lot of my time persuading investors that there is a lot of innovation and excitement in the industry,” said Anson.

“It occurred to me that the people that get that are those who are in the print industry. The industry is massive and there are a lot of very enthusiastic people in it, so let’s get them in on the action.

"LumeJet’s culture is one of openness and collaboration and we want to let everybody and anybody be a part of building a new print technology business financially as well as commercially.

“I’ve already engaged with perhaps 20 or 30 people that have expressed an interest in investing and these crowdfunding sites tend to build a lot of momentum towards the end so we’ve still got a lot of conversations to have.”

LumeJet has raised around £8m to date, mostly from private individuals and publicly backed institutions. This year the firm has presented at Buckingham Palace and 10 Downing Street, when it was selected as one of the 10 most promising digital companies in Britain.

The company's LumeJet S200 photonic digital printer is its first commercial offering. The inkless technology features LumeJet’s patented Digital Print Head (DPH), and works in a similar way to an inkjet using light, rather than ink, to make tiny dots on photosensitive media.

The £150,000 machine, which can be used to produce pitch books, fine art prints, photo books and personal publishing, has had four commercial installations so far.

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