When private equity firm Crestview Partners established SyBridge Technologies in 2019, the objective was to create a global technology business providing end-to-end design and manufacturing solutions. Today, SyBridge is an aggregation of 14 companies with a global footprint that extends into Ireland, China, and Mexico and a portfolio that includes 3D-printed prototyping, injection molding, tooling, and aftermarket services for the medical device market among other high tech sectors. The company exhibited at Medical Design & Manufacturing (MD&M) West in Anaheim, CA, last week, sporting a new brand identity that better reflects its current positioning. “It’s a new look, new tagline, new vibe,” Chief Strategy and Corporate Development Officer Franklin McClelland told PlasticsToday from the SyBridge booth. But it’s much more than a cosmetic rebranding, as he explained during our conversation.
|Chief Strategy and Corporate Development Officer Franklin McClelland, SyBridge Technologies.|
SyBridge is a manifestation of Crestview’s “buy and build” strategy. At the outset in 2019, “there was a belief that [medical technology] was a really interesting industry and that manufacturing was going to move back home, which has been proven out,” said McClelland. Crestview saw a “fragmented market” with a plethora of very good small firms offering specialized expertise but one that lacked an end-to-end supplier with a global scope. “The idea is that if you’re a global life sciences company or a major supplier to that market, you should be able to partner with a company that can provide everything from design and rapid prototyping to tooling and part molding and production,” said McClelland. SyBridge filled that gap through a rapid series of acquisitions starting in May 2019, when it purchased mold maker Concours, followed in January 2020 with the acquisition of Valiant Tool and Mold. The purchase of Pyramid Mold in October 2021 solidified SyBridge’s customer base and footprint in the life sciences market. All told the company made 14 acquisitions, operates 18 production facilities in five countries, and employs more than 1,000 people, 200 of which it qualifies as engineering and technical professionals. And it’s not done shoring up its portfolio of services.
At MD&M West, Sybridge touted its newest acquisition — certain assets of Fast Radius — first announced in December 2022. The Chicago-based company developed a suite of software that integrates design, production, and fulfillment operations across a single platform. One of the reasons that SyBridge wanted to bring Fast Radius into the fold is its rapid quoting software.
“You can upload your drawing with the click of a button on our website, and the program will automatically analyze the design for manufacturability and quote you lead time and pricing for injection molding, CNC machining, and rapid prototyping, sometimes within seconds,” said McClelland. SyBridge is currently integrating the system into all of its businesses.
For a company like SyBridge that serves both OEMs and their suppliers, MD&M West is a perfect venue to drum up business. At a single trade show, it can network with suppliers to the medtech industry, who are typically exhibitors, and medical technology companies that send staff to walk the event. As an upstart that claims to be “disruptive by design,” you might be tempted to call SyBridge the new kid on the block at MD&M West, the largest annual medical manufacturing event in North America that has convened at the Anaheim Convention Center for almost 40 years. Not so fast, said McClelland. “Our legacy business in California, Pyramid Mold, has been exhibiting at this show for 18 years.” And through its string of targeted acquisitions, it can boast decades of collective experience in tool design and manufacturing for high-precision markets.
MD&M West is co-located with Plastec West and three other events — WestPack, ATX (Automation) West, and D&M (Design & Manufacturing) West— at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, CA. The annual event was held this year on Feb. 7 to 9 and is organized by Informa Markets – Engineering, which also produces PlasticsToday.