Digital pioneer Landa nets $300m investment for nanoprinting system

The man who upended the printing business in the 1990s completes funding round led by Germany’s SKion GmbH

A Landa Digital Printing System S10 Nanographic Printing Press (courtesy Landa Digital Printing)
A Landa Digital Printing System S10 Nanographic Printing Press (courtesy Landa Digital Printing)

Months after shipping his first nanoprinting system, the Landa S10 Nanographic Printing Press for commercial packaging, serial entrepreneur Benny Landa announced that his company, Landa Digital Printing, had completed a funding round that netted the firm a $300 million investment.

The round was led by German investment house SKion GmbH, with major participation by chemical company Altana AG – both of them owned by German business mogul Susanne Klatten. As a result of the deal, Landa Digital Printing, based in Rehovot, is valuated at $1.8 billion, the company said. Landa Digital Printing had previously raised $300 million in funding rounds, the company said.

Landa has been around the digital printing block more times than most. The first company to develop a commercially viable digital printing system was Landa’s Indigo, which in the early 1990s shook up the printing business, developing a more efficient and cheaper printing system that eventually pressured firms like Xerox and Canon – which specialized in the older plate process printing – to go digital. Indigo was eventually bought out by HP, in a deal that would eventually be worth nearly a billion dollars.

After taking a break, Landa returned to the print business in 2002, establishing a research and development firm. And that R&D has led to what he says is an industry-disrupting innovation – a nanotechnology-based print system, which, according to Landa, provides cheaper, higher quality, more efficient, and more environmentally friendly printing.

In the industry, digital printing is seen as a great way to produce short-run jobs, and has allowed almost anyone to produce high-quality graphics and documents, with full-color photos. But for large-scale runs – as well as for commercial packaging – offset printing (lithography), which uses metal plates, water and ink to produce printed matter, is cheaper.

Landa’s nanotech-based printing systems aims to change that. At the heart of the process is a new ink invented by Landa. Composed of pigment particles only tens of nanometers in size (a human hair is about 100,000 nanometers wide), these nano-pigments are extremely powerful absorbers of light and enable unprecedented image qualities, the company said. As a result, images are ultra-sharp, very glossy, more colorful, and longer-lasting than can be attained with other printing processes.

In addition, the company added, the system can print on any off-the-shelf surface, including coated and uncoated paper stocks, recycled carton, newsprint, and plastic packaging films, without requiring any kind of pre-treatment or special coating, as offset or other printing methods would require. It’s cheaper, has a greater color printing range, and provides much sharper printing than is currently available with lithographic systems, according to the company.

Landa started marketing the printing system earlier this year, and it was bought by Edelmann, Germany’s largest independent packaging converter. With the new investment, Landa hopes to expand sales.

“We are delighted with our longstanding relationship with Altana and are extremely pleased to broaden that partnership to include SKion, with whom we have a shared vision,” Landa said of the deal. “This substantial financing is one of the foundations we are laying for accelerated growth, now that we have started shipping our Nanographic Printing Presses to customers around the world.”

Klatten, whose firms led the investment round, was just as enthusiastic. “My investment reflects my confidence in the technological potential of Landa Digital Printing. Together we can spark the market demand for digital printing solutions,” she said. “To be part of this new chapter in the history of printing also means a significant entrepreneurial move for me.”

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