Gainesville tech company builds international recognition

Slice Engineering team
The Slice Engineering team (L-R): Ben Ryder, Greg Aiosa, Ary Lamme, Chris Montgomery, Manny Bonnell, Dan Barousse, Peyton Shelton, Jenny Benson.
Courtesy of Slice Engineering

Slice Engineering has been a part of the University of Florida’s “UF Innovate” incubator for five years. It’s longer than most, but that time has not been wasted. 

The company, named the 2023 Tech Company of the Year by the Greater Gainesville Chamber of Commerce, serves tens of thousands of people across the world. Slice is a go-to source for 3D printer parts for NASA, Honda, the U.S. military and many other household names. 

Slice sells a range of products—from $50 upgrade kits sold on Amazon to $1,500 solutions for industrial robots. 

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“Pretty much every sphere of industry, we’ve touched in some way,” CEO Daniel Barousse said in a phone interview. 

The company’s website boasts of three main factors: reliability, performance and USA-based support. Slice’s products undergo rigorous testing and are made of the “highest-quality materials” to ensure reliable and consistent performance that make for fast printing speeds compatible with many materials, temperatures, and printing environments. 

“U.S. manufacturing… we’ve seen a resurgence of it since COVID. But it’s still pretty uncommon for a hardware product to be made in the United States,” Barousse said. “So that’s one thing that we see as a key differentiator for ourselves.” 

Barousse also noted that many of Slice’s competitors are building solutions for hobby-level 3D printing uses, while Slice creates industrial-level solutions that will last through thousands of hours of use. 

Barousse said he is constantly seeing more applications for 3D printing as more companies use the process in their products, from Apple Watches to Invisalign.  

“I’m really excited about that for the future,” Barousse said. “There’s going to be more application of the technology in a wide variety of different products.” 

Slice even uses 3D printing to package some of the parts it sends out, because it only sends out thousands at a time, instead of tens of thousands. This skips the inefficiency of sending those parts to China for packaging, while also helping center Slice’s business in the United States. 

Barousse said 3D printing is in a “shake-up” period, as cars and computers once went through, where hundreds of companies have jumped on a technology trend, but only a few will emerge as solid competitors. 

“We’re exiting the expansion phase in the industry and entering into a consolidation and attrition phase,” Barousse said. “On the surface level, that’s bad thing, right? But in the longer term, what that means is that people get better products on the back end. So I’m excited to weather the storm and provide better solutions to our customers.” 

Barousse, a UF grad, and the chief technology officer (CTO), Chris Montgomery, started Slice by working nights and weekends in Barousse’s living room and Montgomery’s garage. 

Both founders worked at RTI Surgical in Alachua, where they used 3D printing as a tool. At some point, Montgomery identified a problem with the part of the printer that melts the plastic, called a “hotend.” Barousse said the hotend had limitations on what types of plastic it could print, and its parts were breaking, falling apart and becoming rigid.

Montgomery’s idea to fix the problem led to the first series of patents that led to Slice Engineering incorporating in 2017. 

Slice has been profitable since 2020 and now makes millions of dollars in revenue each year. 

In a field that is constantly developing, Barousse credited consistent success to staying on the “cutting edge” of what is happening at research universities, reaching out to professors and taking advantage of access to UF’s resources.  

Barousse said patents are also important to maintaining a competitive edge, comparing them to a moat around Slice’s product offerings. Slice currently owns nine patents. 

Last week, Slice announced a settlement with Anker Innovations Technology, based in China, which was suing Slice for accusing Anker of infringing a Slice Engineering patent. 

“When you publish a patent, you’re giving everybody a roadmap of how to make your thing,” Barousse said. “It sort of reveals a lot of your secret sauce, but the benefit of that is that you have a protection around your technology, at least wherever you have patents.” 

Through all the success, Barousse said his favorite part of Slice Engineering is the team that he and Montgomery have built together, about a dozen employees who provide U.S.-based customer support, mostly from Florida. 

“In most jobs, you don’t really get to pick the people that you work with,” Barousse said. “When you build a startup from the ground up, you get to pick who you get to work with every day… So the thing I’m most proud of, of anything that we’ve done, is just putting together a great team that is a joy to be with every day, and… you can’t put a price tag on that.”

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to clarify that Barousse is the only co-founder who graduated from UF.

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