WEAV3D, a Georgia Tech team mentored by VentureLab principal Jon Goldman, recently completed NSF’s I-Corps program to find a product-market fit for its emerging composites weaving technology.
The company’s initial business thesis was that its composites manufacturing process would be valued by the aerospace industry, which is always looking to shed weight in aircraft. After extensive Customer Discovery, with both manufacturers and integrators of manned and unmanned aircraft, the compa
ny determined that gaining certification for new parts would take a tremendous amount of time, and have all the market risk associated with Federal Aviation Administration and military certifications. As a result, the team pivoted from this market segment to examine applications in the automotive industry. After three trips to the Detroit area, the team validated a huge pain in the industry as original equipment manufacturers (OEM) grapple with looming impacts from the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standard.
WEAV3D is now focusing on delivering the first prototype machine by year’s end where small demonstration samples can be delivered in the hopes of landing a first ‘design-win’ with one of the OEMs or design/engineering houses such as Roush Engineering or Pratt-Miller. The team plans to build a full-scale machine that could handle the delivery of full-scale parts such as automotive hoods, doors, roofs, and trunks, thus displacing large, expensive metal-stamping production lines with a far cheaper CAPEX solution.
If you’re interested in what WEAV3D is up to, or if your team might benefit from I-Corps training, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.