The exterior of the company’s factory in Hawthorne, California.
Machine parts startup Hadrian Automation has raised $90 million in a new funding round led by venture capital firms Lux Capital and Andreessen Horowitz, as the company works to build new Automated Factories to Transform the Aerospace Supply Chain.
“We launched Factory #1 and proved that we can produce space and defense parts 10 times faster and more efficiently than anyone else,” said Chris Power, Founder and CEO of Hadrian. , to CNBC.
The fundraiser marks Hadrian’s second funding round. Other investors in the round include Lachy Groom, Caffeinated Capital, Founders Fund, Construct Capital and 137 Ventures. Power declined to specify Hadrian’s exact valuation after the raise, but said it was between $200 million and $1 billion.
Los Angeles-based Hadrian is also adding Lux Capital partner Brandon Reeves and Andreessen Horowitz partner Katherine Boyle to the firm’s board. Boyle said Hadrian’s ability to scale his approach is a key reason for Andreessen Horowitz’s investment.
“The rate at which they’ve been able to build factories has just been extraordinary,” Boyle told CNBC.
A portion of Hadrian’s new funds will go towards building Plant No. 2, which is expected to span nearly 100,000 square feet in Torrance, Calif., near its current plant in Hawthorne, Power said. the CEO. The company aims to launch the Torrance plant by August, while continuing to hire quickly. Hadrian, who had six employees less than a year ago and 40 people today, expects to have about 120 employees by the end of this year, Power added.
Hadrian has three clients. Power did not disclose the companies but said current customers all build rockets and satellites, for which Hadrian makes aluminum components. The company aims to soon extend its component offer to steels and other hard metals.
“We don’t set up factories that look like production lines – we build an abstract factory that you can drop any part into and it comes out the other side…as long as it matches a certain size or to a certain material that we support, we can do anything within that,” Power said.
The Machining Supply Chain Problem
A look inside the company’s factory in Hawthorne, California.
Hadrian seeks to centralize a fragmented supply chain among suppliers spread across the country. Citing his company’s experience investing in aerospace and defense companies, Boyle added that today’s supply chain depends on “thousands of mom-and-pop machine shops.” Across the country. Hardware and aerospace companies often complain about it, she said.
Power estimates that there are about 3,000 of these small machine shops, which together generate about $40 billion in revenue annually by manufacturing high-precision components for aerospace and defense companies.
Josh Wolfe, partner at Lux Capital, further pointed out that these components “are not proprietary to the company” but that demand varies widely, from “bespoke” parts to “big lots”.
According to a study published last year by Deloitte and the Manufacturing Institute, as many as 2.1 million jobs in the manufacturing sector are expected to be vacant by 2030. In addition, the average age of machinists is increasing, said Boyle, a key pressure on the labor shortage.
“The average age of many machinists is now in the mid-50s, and many are reaching the point where they are retiring or the shops are going to be passed on to the next generation,” Boyle said. “There is this question: who will take over these stores and who will be able to continue to supply the defense industrial base?
Boyle added that a secondary theme in the machining job market is that Hadrian’s approach to automation is “creating jobs for a new generation of machinists.”
“There are labor shortages in the high-skilled trades,” Boyle said.
Hadrian addresses this problem with an approach that allows the company to hire employees as machinists “who have never done a part before,” Power said. He cited examples of hires Hadrian did at Chick-Fil-A or Walmart, with no previous parts manufacturing experience.
“We’re getting to a point where they’re making spaceflight hardware within 30 days of getting to Hadrian,” Power said.
Hadrian pairs these newly minted machinists with those with extensive domain or software experience, having hired talent from the likes of Meta, Stripe, SpaceX and others.