Hardware may indeed be hard, but a startup that built a platform might help break this idea by making hardware easier to produce, announcing more funding to continue building its platform.
Fictiv positions itself as the “AWS of hardware” — a platform for those who need to produce some hardware, a place for them to design, price and order those parts and ultimately ship them from one place to another — $35 million has been raised.
Fictiv will use the funding to continue building out its platform and the supply chain that underpins its business, which the startup describes as a “digital manufacturing ecosystem.”
CEO and founder Dave Evans said the company’s focus has been and will continue to be not mass-produced products, but prototypes and other mass-market products, such as specific medical devices .
“We’re focusing on 1,000 to 10,000,” he said in an interview, saying it’s a challenging agricultural volume because this type of work doesn’t see greater economies of scale, but is still too big to be considered is small and cheap. “This is the range where most products are still dead.”
This round of financing – Series D – came from strategic and financial investors.It is led by 40 North Ventures and also includes Honeywell, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation, Adit Ventures, M2O, and past backers Accel, G2VP and Bill Gates.
Fictiv last raised funding nearly two years ago — a $33 million round in early 2019 — and the transition period has been a good, real test of the business idea he envisioned when he first built the startup.
Even before the pandemic, “we didn’t know what was going to happen in a trade war between the U.S. and China,” he said.Suddenly, China’s supply chain completely “collapsed and everything was shut down” because of these tariff disputes.
Fictiv’s solution was to move manufacturing to other parts of Asia, such as India and the US, which in turn helped the company when the first wave of COVID-19 initially hit China.
Then came the global outbreak, and Fictiv found itself changing again as factories in recently opened countries closed.
Then, as trade concerns cooled, Fictiv rekindled relations and operations in China, which contained COVID in the early days, to continue working there.
Known early on for building prototypes for tech companies around the Bay Area, the startup makes VR and other gadgets, offering services including injection molding, CNC machining, 3D printing, and urethane casting Cloud-based software designs and orders parts, which are then shipped by Fictiv to the factory best suited to manufacture them.
Today, while the business continues to grow, Fictiv is also working with large global multinational corporations to develop small-scale manufacturing products that are either new or cannot be efficiently processed in existing plants.
The work it does for Honeywell, for example, consists mostly of hardware for its aerospace division.Medical devices and robotics are two other big areas the company currently has, it said.
Fictiv isn’t the only company eyeing this opportunity.Other established marketplaces either compete directly with those established by Fictiv, or target other aspects of the chain, such as the design marketplace, or the marketplace where factories connect with designers, or material designers, including Geomiq in England, Carbon (which is also getting 40 North), Auckland’s Fathom, Germany’s Kreatize, Plethora (backed by the likes of GV and Founders Fund), and Xometry (which also recently raised a major round).
Evans and his investors are careful not to describe what they’re doing as a specialized industrial technology to focus on the larger opportunities that digital transformation brings, and of course, the potential for the platform Fictiv builds. of various applications.
“Industrial technology is a misnomer. I think it’s digital transformation, cloud-based SaaS and artificial intelligence,” said Marianne Wu, managing director at 40 North Ventures.”The baggage of industrial technology tells you everything about opportunity.”
Fictiv’s proposition is that by taking on the supply chain management of producing hardware for businesses, it can use its platform to produce hardware in a week, a process that previously could take three months, which could mean lower costs and higher s efficiency.
However, much work remains to be done.A big sticking point for manufacturing is the carbon footprint it creates in production, and the products it produces.
That could become a bigger problem if a Biden administration lives up to its own emissions reduction pledges and relies more on companies to meet those goals.
Evans is well aware of the problem and acknowledges that manufacturing can be one of the hardest industries to transform.
“Sustainability and manufacturing are not synonymous,” he admits.While the development of materials and manufacturing will take longer, he said the focus now is on how to implement better private and public and carbon credit schemes.He said he envisioned a better market for carbon credits, and Fictiv launched its own tool to measure this.
“The time is ripe for sustainability to be disrupted and we want to have the first carbon neutral shipping scheme to provide customers with better options for greater sustainability. Companies like ours are on the shoulders to drive this responsibility for the mission.”
Post time: Jan-11-2022