Apis Cor, the parent company of a Skolkovo resident startup that uses 3D printing to construct buildings, has raised about $6 million in investment from the Rusnano Sistema Sicar venture fund, Vedomosti newspaper reported Thursday.

Apis Cor demonstrated its technology by printing this house in a Moscow suburb last year. Photo: Apis Cor.

The investment in Apis Cor, whose daughter company Apis-Cor Engineering is a resident of the Skolkovo Foundation’s energy-efficient technologies cluster, is the first for Rusnano Sistema Sicar, which was set up by the Sistema conglomerate and the government-owned venture fund Rusnano. The exact amount of investment and terms of the deal were not disclosed, Vedomosti reported.

Apis Cor demonstrated its technology at the end of last year, when it printed a 38 square-metre house in the Moscow suburb of Stupino in just 24 hours and at a cost of less than $10,000.

The company is the most dynamically developing project today in the field of using 3D printing for construction, having started from scratch several years ago, said Yury Khakhanov, a project manager within Skolkovo’s energy cluster.

“Apis Cor has many competitive advantages over all the world’s other makers of 3D printers for use in construction,” said Khakhanov.

“Apis Cor’s invention makes it possible to significantly increase the speed and quality of printing, as well as to create unique architectural forms that are not possible using other technologies,” he said.

Raising investment to produce more printers is a logical step in commercializing the project, said Khakhanov.

“It will allow Apis Cor to satisfy the fast-growing demand for 3D printing in construction around the world. At the project’s current rate of development, buildings printed by Apis Cor will be appearing on every continent by as early as next year,” he said.

Construction is an industry in which new digital technologies have not yet broken through, Skolkovo Ventures director Vasily Belov was quoted by Vedomosti as saying. Technologies have already been developed but are not yet used enough by business, making them of interest from an investor’s point of view, he said.

Apis Cor first came to the attention of the Skolkovo Foundation last February in the company’s home city of Irkutsk, when it was one of the winners of the Irkutsk stage of the Startup Tour, Skolkovo’s roving quest for talented tech startups. Two months later, the company won a grant of 3 million rubles ($53,000) from Skolkovo in the final of the Technostart competitionfor industrial solutions, and soon after became a resident. In March this year, the company topped the best hardware startup category in the Startup of the Year awards.