Hardware, as the saying goes, is hard, but today a startup has raised some money for a manufacturing service that it believes can make the prospect of starting and running hardware businesses a little easier. Fictiv, which positions itself as a kind of AWS for manufacturing — providing a platform both to design components and help get them produced — has raised $33 million, money that it will use to continue expanding its production ecosystem, the range of components that it can make, and to grow its customer base.
The company is not disclosing its valuation, but, according to PitchBook, the company was valued at around $65 million post-money in its last fundraise, which could put the company at around $100 million with this latest injection. This Series C was led by G2VP, with new strategic investor Mitsui & Co. and previous backers Accel, Bill Gates, Intel Capital, Sinovation and Tandon Group, also participating. Fictiv has raised $58 million to date.
Injection may be the operative word here — or at least one of them. Fictiv today works across manufacturing plants in China and the Bay Area, covering a range of processes, including injection molding, CNC machining, 3D printing and urethane casting, covering a variety of materials. Customers use the company’s cloud-based software to design and order parts which are routed by Fictiv to the plants best suited to make them. Current customers include the likes of Sphero and Facebook, which use Fictiv’s services for prototyping,
The problem that Fictiv is solving has been a persistent one in the world of hardware: making prototypes can cost a lot and be very inefficient, and that’s before you move into full-scale manufacturing, which can be challenging even with economies of scale. It’s also a very crowded field, with a number of different companies all vying to help fill the role of manufacturing enabler (and it is a field also littered with failures). But over the years, we’ve seen a lot of advances in manufacturing tech, with the tradeoff that some of the work that it takes on freeing up staff to work on other challenges.
“Fictiv is developing the software infrastructure required to connect the manufacturing workforce and trillions of dollars of capital equipment,” said CEO Dave Evans, who co-founded the company with Nate Evans, in a statement. “In doing so, both product developers and manufacturers will benefit from the efficiencies gained by eliminating unnecessary, repetitive tasks and unlocking employees to focus on creative problem solving.”
“We are excited to be part of the digital transformation of the status quo in manufacturing,” said Daniel Oros, Partner at G2VP, in a statement. “Fictiv’s innovative tools and services address the critical gap in contract manufacturing that will lead to a massive shift in how consumer and industrial products are manufactured.”