Two COE Teams Named MassChallenge Winners

3DFortify founded by MIE Assistant Professor Randall Erb & PhD student Josh Martin selected as a $50K Gold prize winner and QSM Diagnostics founded by ChE Associate Professor Edgar Goluch awarded silver prize winner in the MassChallenge.

3DFortify is a materials company that uses patented magnetic alignment technology to create the most complex composites to date.

QSM Diagnostics uses a proprietary instrument-sensor to identify common infectious bacteria in bodily fluids within one minute at the point-of-care.

Source: News @ Northeastern

3DFortify, a spinout from North­eastern pro­fessor Ran­dall Erb’s lab, com­bines 3-​​D printing and mag­netics to create the highest res­o­lu­tion com­pos­ites to date and received a $50,000 “Gold” prize on Wednesday night at the Mass­Chal­lenge Boston awards ceremony.

3DFortify was among 26 final­ists in the Mass­Chal­lenge Boston accel­er­ator pro­gram, which began with 1,700 star­tups. On Wednesday night Mass­Chal­lenge awarded more than $1 mil­lion in non-​​equity prizes to 16 of those final­ists it deemed “the highest-​​impact star­tups” from this year’s program.

Another North­eastern startup was also a Mass­Chal­lenge Boston finalist: QSM Tech­nolo­gies, Inc., which stems from the lab of Edgar Goluch, asso­ciate pro­fessor in the Depart­ment of Chem­ical Engi­neering. QSM Tech­nolo­gies, Inc., which uses a pro­pri­etary instru­ment sensor to iden­tify common infec­tious bac­teria in bodily fluids within one minute at point of care, was rec­og­nized as an “In-​​Kind Silver Winner” at Tuesday’s event.

‘No matter the form, 3DFortify brings the function’

3DFortify is focused on devel­oping a new gen­er­a­tion of custom, high-​​performance prod­ucts for a range of appli­ca­tions across indus­tries, including, for example, small air­plane com­po­nents that are much lighter but just as strong. Another appli­ca­tion involves cre­ating sturdy yet light­weight custom pros­thetics for patients. “We like to say that no matter the form, 3DFortify brings the func­tion,” said CEO and co-​​founder Josh Martin, a doc­toral stu­dent in mechan­ical engineering.

Martin is a reseacher in Erb’s lab, where he and Erb work with their custom-​​made 3-​​D printers that employ their patented tech­nology, which allows them to use mag­netic fields to orient carbon fibers within a 3-​​D com­posite at the highest res­o­lu­tion. This is crit­ical, Martin said, because it allows them to tune a composite’s mechan­ical and thermal prop­er­ties. “We knew that this idea we had to incor­po­rate our mag­netic assembly with 3-​​D printing would pro­vide a break­through in com­posite tech­nology,” said Erb, assis­tant pro­fessor in the Depart­ment of Mechan­ical and Indus­trial Engi­neering. “We just had to figure out how to achieve it.”

The North­eastern entre­pre­neur­ship com­mu­nity has been great at sup­porting us.
—Karlo Delos Reyes

The team plans to use the Mass­Chal­lenge award in a number of ways, including scaling up its 3-​​D printer to print at up to a cubic foot of high-​​resolution carbon fiber parts and expanding its mate­rials plat­form so that it can print with more resins that are tougher, stronger and can handle high tem­per­a­tures. 3DFortify also plans to open a round of seed funding.

Help from Northeastern

3DFortify launched less than a year ago, and the team cred­ited both the Mass­Chal­lenge pro­gram and Northeastern’s robust entre­pre­neur­ship ecosystem for accel­er­ating its growth. Karlo Delos Reyes, a doc­toral stu­dent in chem­ical engi­neering and co-​​founder of 3DFortify, noted that the team has received men­tor­ship, coaching, and busi­ness model devel­op­ment from IDEA, Northeastern’s student-​​run ven­ture accel­er­ator as well as resources from the Ven­ture Men­toring Net­work, which is designed to match stu­dent, alumni, and fac­ulty entre­pre­neurs with expe­ri­enced alumni and other industry professionals.

This spring 3DFortify also par­tic­i­pated in an eight-​​week boot camp, launched by the Biotech Entre­pre­neurs grad­uate stu­dent group co-​​founded by Delos Reyes, that fea­tured “crash courses” on topics such as devel­oping a busi­ness plan, fundraising, pro­tecting intel­lec­tual prop­erty, and cre­ating an effec­tive pitch. The pro­gram cul­mi­nated in a final pitch com­pe­ti­tion, where 3DFortify was selected as one of the two win­ners to split the $1,000 grand prize.

The North­eastern entre­pre­neur­ship com­mu­nity has been great at sup­porting us,” said Delos Reyes, PhD’18.

Added Erb: “When we first got going, we were mas­ters of the tech­nology, but bringing that to market was a com­pletely for­eign process. By get­ting involved in these accel­er­a­tors, we’ve learned a sig­nif­i­cant amount of new vocab­u­lary and method­olo­gies that have allowed us to get our tech­nology closer to being useful in the world.”

Related Faculty: Randall Erb

Related Departments:Chemical Engineering, Mechanical & Industrial Engineering