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Fictiv has raised an additional $100 million to build out its service for matchmaking mechanical parts manufacturers with customers. The service streamlines the ordering and procurement process for engineers at product companies on one end and then helps fill unused manufacturing capacity on the other.
It plans to invest in tools to improve CX for engineers submitting projects, to expand across the U.S., China and India and to improve digital twins for simulating different aspects of manufacturability, production and sustainability.
Fictiv has delivered over 19 million mechanical parts to more than 3000 product companies like Honeywell, RBC Bearings and Gecko Robotics. The company provides a single interface where engineers can submit bids, place orders and track the progress of work distributed across hundreds of manufacturing facilities. It also vets the quality of its manufacturing providers and provides a consolidated experience for enterprise customers.
Fictiv has also developed a suite of apps for the manufacturers to help them jumpstart production, track progress, generate labels, plan projects and build out their core application and data management infrastructure.
The company has grown exponentially since its founding in 2013. It currently has about 250 employees in the U.S., China and India. Competitors include companies like Xometry and Protolabs.
Engineering procurement experience
The mechanical parts manufacturing industry is not known for its rapid pace. Fictiv cofounder and CEO Dave Evans conceived of the idea while working as an engineer for dashboards at Ford. He told VentureBeat that he eventually found himself spending most of his time doing project management rather than helping design and build new products and realized a lot of other engineers were having the same problem.
He shared his struggles with his brother, Fictiv cofounder and CXO Nate Evans, who immediately recognized that the ad industry was going through a similar transformation. Companies like Google were rapidly growing by matching ad spending with targeted ad space capacity. The two reasoned that a similar model could help transform manufacturing.
“Before founding Fictiv, sourcing and quoting of parts was very fragmented to local machine shops, further complicated by slow communication processes, unreliable machine capacity, inconsistent quality control and limited visibility into production status,” said Dave Evans.
From weeks to days
Evans said in the old process, a procurement engineer would send out a request for a quote to four or five potential manufacturers and wait a week for the quotes. They would then pick one manufacturer, submit the order and wait another six weeks for the delivery. In the meantime, they would have very little visibility into the order’s status.
With Fictiv, the procurement engineer submits an order and Fictiv converts the raw 3D CAD file into a digital twin to simulate how it might be manufactured on different kinds of equipment. The Fictiv engine calculates the time, cost and quality of parts made using various manufacturing techniques like injection molding, casting or additive manufacturing.
It delivers a range of quotes for different approaches within an hour. Once the order is submitted, Fictiv automatically matches the order with the best available manufacturing partner for the job. Evans says they often deliver the finished products within a week, which is far less than the seven weeks it used to take.
The long-term goal is to help enterprises transform their manufacturing process with a more nimble approach that allows companies to iterate on design ideas more rapidly. Fictiv’s platform also controls for and provides transparency into sourcing, manufacturability and instant production. Product updates are delivered at each step and clients can find all order data in a single location for easy re-ordering and visibility across an organization.
Fictiv’s platform is also SOC 2 security certified and all work orders are anonymized before sending to vetted manufacturing partners to protect customer intellectual property. The net result is a streamlined, efficient, reliable, secure manufacturing workflow for engineering and supply chain teams. This accelerates time-to-market for new products and increases supply chain agility, operating efficiency and resilience.
Down the road, Evans said they are developing tools to help estimate the manufacturability of parts using different techniques. For example, some physical surfaces might be hard to create using some techniques. They are also expanding support for ESG tracking. For instance, they are developing tools to calculate the carbon footprint of various manufacturing approaches.
Activate Capital led the recent funding round, including contributions from Angeleno Group, Cross Creek, The Westly Group, as well as from existing institutional investors such as Accel, Bill Gates, G2 Venture Partners and Standard Investments. This series E brings the total investment in Fictiv to $192 million since its founding in 2013.
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