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The startup's CEO says he wants to to help build hardware at the speed of software development
As the idea of product customization and flexible production has gained ground in recent years, propelled by 3D printing technologies, one startup is getting headway in providing hardware businesses with on-demand parts.
The fundraising was led by G2VP, with return investors Accel, Bill Gates, Intel Capital, Sinovation Ventures and Tandon Group, as well as newly joining Mitsui & Co., one of Japan’s largest general trading companies. This round brought Fictiv’s total investment to date to $58 million.
The money will boost the continued development of Fictiv’s cloud platform to drive automation and streamline workflow, the startup’s co-founder and Chief Executive Officer, Dave Evans, told VatorNews. The company also intends to expand its global manufacturing network, including growing capacity, capabilities and materials, as well as hire top talent to strategically grow the organization, he added.
Connecting with hundreds of manufacturers around the world, primarily in the United States and China, Fictiv aims to help product developers “bring products to market faster and with greater flexibility.”
Fictiv’s platform lets customers design and order parts from the best-suited suppliers that specialize in techniques including 3D printing, urethane casting, injection molding, and CNC machining.
“Our goal is not to have the largest manufacturing network in the world, but to have the highest-quality manufacturing network in the world,” Evans said. “By closely managing our network, we ensure our customers get the highest quality parts, on time and built to specification.”
Last year, Fictiv served more than 1,000 customers in the automotive, medical robotics, consumer electronics and aerospace industries. To determine the pricing, the company uses machine learning algorithms to analyze the geometry and complexity of a part, as well as the machine set up required to make it, the material, process, finishing requirements, quantity and the date by which it has to be completed.
Evans said the convergence in culture and technology has been an important driver for Fictiv’s growth.
“A huge number of disruptive companies have established themselves by using data to reimagine entire product segments. The race to bring these products to market is driving the need for much faster development cycles. The lack of tools for hardware developers who need to prototype, launch products, and rapidly adapt to market demands has become a significant barrier.”
He continued, “Culturally, the constant threat of tariffs and trade wars, material shortages and even natural disasters are putting the traditional model of supply chains at risk. Companies no longer have the luxury of taking years to build out supply chains.”
Fictiv does not own machines, Evans said, so its focus is developing the technology that brings efficiencies and agility into supply chains by streamlining workflow, digitizing manufacturing data, and bringing factories online.
A Stanford graduate, Evans was the first hire at Ford’s Innovation Lab. The idea for Fictiv was formed when he became frustrated with the barriers he faced as a hardware developer.
“I was responsible for prototyping infotainment systems in automotive dashboards. Rather than spending my time designing solutions, I was spending the majority of my time managing a Rolodex of external vendors. My colleagues developing software were pushing new builds every day. Fictiv was created because I wanted to help hardware developers build products at the speed of software.”
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Fictiv is democratizing access to manufacturing, transforming how hardware teams design, develop and deliver physical products. Its virtual manufacturing platform pairs intelligent workflow and collaboration software with Fictiv’s global network of highly vetted manufacturers. From prototype to production, Fictiv helps hardware teams work efficiently and bring products to market faster.