Digital modeling firm Ciespace Corp. lands $4 million in funding

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Carnegie Mellon University spinoff Ciespace Corp. has secured $4 million that will be used to hire workers and expand the company into more commercial sectors, the company announced Monday.

Founded by CMU engineering professor Kenji Shimada, the digital modeling firm in Oakland markets technology that helps companies build virtual prototypes. Chicago-based Arch Venture Partners and Tokyo-based University of Tokyo Edge Capital led the Series A funding round.

Ciespace plans to use the money for work on the company's 3-D digital modeling platform. It also will push the technology into additional commercial marketplaces such as computer animation, medical imaging and metrology, or the study of measurement.

Ciespace already works with the automotive, aerospace and computer-aided design sectors. Its BubbleMesh simulation technology has been used by companies such as IBM and NASA.

Kevin Kerns, a former consultant and entrepreneur-in-residence at Arch Venture Partners, replaces Dr. Shimada as Ciespace's CEO. He was CEO of communications software firm Apropos Technology Inc. of Chicago from 1996 to 2004.

Dr. Shimada will stay on with Ciespace as the chief science officer while teaching at CMU. Company research and development will remain in Pittsburgh while a finance and marketing site opens in Chicago. Mr. Kerns said a headquarters location had not been decided.

Ciespace's roster of 10 employees is expected to grow by about 25 workers per year over the next several years.

"We hope to bring our first end-user product to market within 12 months," Mr. Kerns said.


Erich Schwartzel: eschwartzel @post-gazette.com or 412-263-1455.


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