Zink Imaging is one of the Boston area’s most promising startups, and peHUB has learned that it just raised a large round of institutional funding. Actually, change that to read: peHUB has learned that Zink finally raised a large round of institutional funding.
Zink had been in talks more than a year ago for a $70 million round to be led by Polaris Venture Partners, but the deal ultimately fell apart. The company nonetheless continued to work on its inkless printing technology, and recently secured enough debt to purchase a manufacturing facility in North Carolina. It also managed to publicly introduce its technology at Demo 07 (video after the jump).
But now Zink has closed on a $25 million VC round led by Petters Group Worldwide, which will be used to build up inventory prior to its initial product rollout. If Petters sounds familiar, that’s because it’s the same company that bought Polaroid from One Equity Partners last year. And for one additional degree of separation, Zink spun out of Polaroid back in 2005. So it’s like getting the family back together.
Zink is essentially working on the holy grail of printing, which is to reduce the number of moving parts. It has created a 12-layer piece of plastic paper – very similar in feel to traditional Polaroid photo paper – that is enabled with a heat-activated color-release mechanism. What this means is that a Zink printer just needs to heat up certain parts of the paper, and the high-resolution image appears. No ink. It also can insert this technology within CD burners, in order to create high-quality graphic labels.
Moreover, Zink and its partners have developed a tiny mobile printer (think i-Pod sized) that can connect directly to digital cameras, camera phones, etc. Most folks may not care for such immediate printing, but field technicians would. No ink. No ribbons.
The company did not respond to requests for comment.