16. – 19.11.2021 Frankfurt am Main Tickets & registration

Events and Challenges

Additive manufacturing is constantly changing and reinventing itself. Through our Events & Challenges we match you with new companies, show you new products and support you in your professional entry into this fascinating industry.

Start-up Challenge 2021 – recognition to sustainable business concepts

Start-up Challenge

Recognizing new, creative, viable, and above all, sustainable business ideas from the world of additive manufacturing: once again Formnext Start-up Challenge invites submissions from innovative young companies

The Start-up Challenge is an integral part of Formnext and has been supporting start-ups by providing free participation in the trade show and a comprehensive marketing package. In addition, the winners can present themselves to the trade fair participants as part of a pitch event. In recent years, a wide range of start-ups have taken advantage of this unique platform  and made important contacts to investors, established companies, the press and other stakeholders.

Any up-and-coming company with a product or service that offers an exceptional development for the additive manufacturing process chain, is market-ready in terms of customers, product status, and revenue can take part in the Formnext Start-up Challenge.

AM Ventures Impact Award 2021 – special attention is paid to sustainable management

Start-up Challenge

One young company will also be selected from the applicants to receive the AM Ventures Impact Award in recognition of approaches to sustainability. Environmental considerations (such as green energy and resource conservation) and social aspects (for example, education and equality) play an important role in this. “The potential offered by additive manufacturing for addressing the major global sustainability challenges is significant. The technology can be used to make drives more efficient, minimize material consumption, accelerate repairing cycles, and extend battery ranges," says Arno Held, Managing Partner AM Ventures. “In all areas, AM can improve the world if we use the technology correctly”. The Impact Award was launched by Formnext together with AM Ventures Management GmbH to help raise this awareness."

The call for entries for the Start-up Challenge and the AM Ventures Impact Award has already started. Take advantage of the last home office weeks! Deadline for your application is 2 July 2021. For any questions, please get in touch with Maria Besser.

The Formnext Start-up Challenge has helped numerous young companies to accelerate their corporate development and successfully set the course for the future. At Formnext, the leading international trade fair for additive manufacturing, you will meet potential customers, investors and experts from all over the world . By participating in the challenge, you will also receive valuable feedback on your business model from our jury, which is formed by industry experts.

  • A free participation at the Start-up Area of Formnext 2021
  • Integration of your start-up in all relevant marketing and communication activities of Formnext
  • Possibility to pitch your product at Formnext 2021 + Formnext Digital Days
  • Company coaching by one of our jury members
  • Your individual company profile article on
  • A 3D printed award sponsored by voxeljet
AM Ventures

Sustainability has become the most important issue in today’s world. Every individual and every company must act in order to solve the challenges that face our planet and the human population.

AM Ventures, as the leading venture capital firm in additive manufacturing, wants to raise awareness about sustainability in the industrial 3D printing industry. The goal of the award is to honor one company among the Start-up Challenge applicants that is making a substantial positive impact on different facets of sustainability.

AM Ventures will choose the company with the greatest positive impact on sustainability to win the AM Ventures Impact Award. The winner will receive prize money of 5,000 euro and an introduction to the AM Ventures network. Formnext will include the winner in all relevant marketing and communication activities. In addition, the winner will have the opportunity to present their sustainable approach Formnext Pitchnext event.

For more details on the award and your contribution to achieving the global goals for sustainable development, please click here.
Any feedback or questions? Don’t hesitate to contact AM Venturesby email or website.

Start-ups that fulfill the following requirements:

  • Formation of your company is no longer than 5 years (max. 1 January 2016)
  • Max. € 10 million annual revenue
  • No majority holding of a company that exceeds € 10 million annual revenue

1. Fill in the online application form ausfüllen und abschicken.
2. Send your pitch deck(s) to
3. Receive a confirmation of receipt.

Deadline: 02 July 2021

The five winners will be selected by a highly qualified panel of well-known representatives from the manufacturing industry, research, the investment sector and the industry’s media. The winner of the AM Ventures Impact Award will be chosen by AM Ventures and announced together with the winners of the Start-up Challenge in autumn.

Partners and sponsors

Jury Start-up Challenge

Kristian Arntz, Kristian Arntz, CEO, Fraunhofer Center for Networked Adaptive Production ICNAP

Kristian Arntz, Kristian Arntz, CEO, Fraunhofer Center for Networked Adaptive Production ICNAP

Entry into additive manufacturing as production engineer– Establishment of a department at Fraunhofer with focus on AM in production – Management of ACAM, which provides the manufacturing industry with simplified access to AM - Management of ICNAP to enable digital production.

Stefanie Brickwede, Head of 3d printing@DB and Managing Director of "Mobility goes Additive"

Stefanie Brickwede, Head of 3d printing@DB and Managing Director of "Mobility goes Additive"

Initiator of a start-up safari for DB – Head of 3d printing@DB – 3D printing network "Mobility goes Additive"

Arno Held, Chief, Managing Partner, AM Ventures

Arno Held, Managing Partner, AM Ventures

14 years AM experience - 1,600 AM-Startups scouted - 24 funding rounds in AM-Startups

Peter Mayr, Professor of Materials Engineering of Additive Manufacturing, Technical University of Munich - TUM

Peter Mayr, Professor of Materials Engineering of Additive Manufacturing, Technical University of Munich - TUM

Passionate researcher and educator in the fields of materials, advanced manufacturing, characterisation and testing. Promoter of TUM.Additive, the collective activities in Additive Manufacturing at TUM.

Alexander Oster, Director Additive Manufacturing, Autodesk

Alexander Oster, Director Additive Manufacturing, Autodesk

20 years of experience in additive manufacturing – former CTO of FIT AG, one of the largest industrial service providers in Germany – Co-founder and CEO of Netfabb GmbH, now part of Autodesk Inc.

Michael Petch, Editor-in-chief, 3D Printing Industry

Michael Petch, Editor-in-chief, 3D Printing Industry

Editor-in-chief of the leading source of news for the additive manufacturing industry – Frequent speaker at industry events

That's how it was in 2020

Five exceptional start-ups were able to win the international Formnext Start-up Challenge 2020 with their innovations. Molyworks also won the AM Ventures Impact Award, presented for the first time in the Formnext Start-up Challenge.

The successful technical developments range from automated design software, new plastic materials, production monitoring and a solution for automated post-processing. The international winners will also present their innovations at Formnext Connect. Impressions can be found here:

Winner Start-Up Challenge

Winner AM Ventures Impact Award

The purmundus challenge

The purmundus challenge

International competition of design ideas for 3D and 4D printing

Receiving an award as part of the purmundus challenge is seen as one of the most important design-related distinctions in the field of 3D and 4D printing. In keeping with this year’s topic of “Innovation in progress”, innovative solutions are being sought for the beneficial use of 3D and 4D printing in product design and manufacturing.

As part of the competition, the participants tackle the challenge of identifying useful applications for 3D and 4D printing. The panel is judging the benefits in terms of use, economy and aesthetics as well as the design itself and the innovation.

We once again encourage entrants to also consider methods and materials that have not yet become established, are still the subject of research or are yet to be invented.

Please find here the announcement of the purmundus challenge 2021The deadline for submissions is 22 September 2021.

In 2021 the purmundus challenge will once again be supporting designers in the 3D and 4D sectors by making participation completely free of charge. In addition to the experience, there are a number of other benefits to taking part: The design competition is an outstanding opportunity for newcomers and professionals alike to engender confidence among their potential clients and sponsors regarding their additive solutions.

The international presence, our broad network, the public interest and the targeted platform help make the purmundus challenge a unique experience for all participants.

Receiving an award as part of the purmundus challenge is seen as one of the most important design-related distinctions in the field of 3D and 4D printing. In addition to the top three rankings, the purmundus challenge also gives out the “Special Mention”, “Simulation Driven Design”, “Innovation Prize” and “Newcomer Prize”. Winning designers receive support in the form of an extensive winner’s package.

The prizewinners set strong trends with an international focus in the design industry in the field of 3D and 4D printing, and highlight potential future directions. A prize for the “people’s choice”, voted for over the course of Formnext by visitors to the fair, completes the purmundus challenge. The awards are worth a total of 30,000 euros.

Any manner of design may be submitted. The awards go to the best product design in keeping with the competition’s current theme. Participants subject themselves to a cross-sector comparison of 3D and 4D talents, professionals, institutions, and companies of all sizes.

Option 1: Complete and submit an online registration form

Option 2: Send a registration form to
Registration form for download

The deadline for submissions is 22 September 2021

The purmundus challenge will assess the submitted product ideas and arrive at a pre-selection by 06 October 2021. Up to 35 finalists each year are entered into the special show, and stand a chance of winning the prestigious purmundus challenge trophy. The designs must be submitted to the purmundus challenge team by 30 October 2021. The international panel will choose the winners of the purmundus challenge and present them with their awards in the AM4U Area at the Formnext trade fair on 18 November 2021.


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