WD Lab Grown Searching for Funding, Sources Say – JCK

WD Lab Grown Diamonds, one of many first corporations to mass-produce artificial gems with the chemical vapor deposition (CVD) methodology, is searching for new funding and probably a purchaser, sources say.

The Beltsville, Md.–based mostly firm has been the topic of a lot market chatter currently, although it’s largely stayed silent. Firm spokespeople, in addition to the principals of financiers Huron Capital and Tree Line Capital Companions, didn’t reply to queries from JCK. WD’s social media accounts—together with these for its model, Latitude Diamonds—have stopped posting.

An organization worker did textual content one buyer that WD is pivoting towards technical functions for diamonds, which it sees as having “probably the most influence on the world and monetary return for our traders.” It’ll proceed to do “particular issues” for gem clients, the message stated.

Nonetheless, its gem enterprise apparently stays energetic: One retailer tells JCK he ordered diamonds from the corporate final week and “all the pieces went like regular.”

WD Lab Grown did elevate eyebrows when it didn’t exhibit at JCK Las Vegas in June. The corporate joined the Plumb Membership in 2022 and was purported to exhibit at this 12 months’s pavilion. But it surely dropped out earlier than the occasion, main the Plumb Membership Affiliation to sue for breach of contract in New York State courtroom. (At press time, WD had not filed a response to the go well with.)

A number of workers left WD in March, in response to posts on LinkedIn. In May, Tom Hitselberger, its chief monetary officer for the previous two years, left for Treliant, a consulting agency. The Plumb Membership lawsuit lists his substitute as Mel Hansen.

Like many lab-grown corporations, WD has needed to cope with the final downtrend in lab-grown gem costs and an more and more crowded subject that has seen most diamond rising migrate to India and China. (Lusix, the extremely touted Israeli producer, was additionally a no-show in Las Vegas this 12 months.)

In 2020, WD sued six different lab-grown corporations for alleging violating its patents. Whereas it settled with a few of these corporations, it misplaced its case in opposition to Fenix Diamonds—and at press time, appeals in that case had been nonetheless wrapping up.

In December, Mike Grunza, an operating partner of Huron Capital, took over as WD chief govt from Sue Rechner, who had served as CEO since 2019.

The corporate—which fits by the company identify M7D—was based as Washington Diamond Corp. in 2008 and used know-how developed by the Carnegie Establishment of Washington. It was bought by Huron Capital in 2019. In 2021, it acquired a Chicago-based tech-oriented diamond grower, J2 Supplies.

High: The Plumb Membership Pavilion on the JCK Present in Las Vegas (photograph courtesy of the Plumb Membership)

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