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 builds new Automated Factories to Transform the Aerospace Supply Chain.
“We launched Factory #1 and proved we can build space and defense components 10 times faster and better than anyone,” Chris Power, Founder and CEO of Hadrian, told CNBC.
The fundraiser marked Hadrian’s second round of funding. Other investors in the round include Lachy Groom, Caffeinated Capital, Founders Fund, Construct Capital and 137 Ventures. The authority declined to specify Hadrian’s exact amount after the increase, but said it was between $ 200 million and $ 1 billion.
Los Angeles -based Hadrian also adds Lux Capital partner Brandon Reeves and Andreessen Horowitz partner Katherine Boyle to the company’s board. Boyle said Hadrian’s ability to measure his strategy was a major reason for Andreessen Horowitz’s investment.
“The rate at which they’ve built factories is phenomenal,” Boyle told CNBC.
A portion of Hadrian’s new funds will go towards the construction of Plant No. 2, which is expected to reach 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 in August, while continuing to hire quickly. Hadrian, who had six employees less than a year ago and 40 people now, 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 make rockets and satellites, of which Hadrian makes aluminum parts. The company aims to expand its share offering into steels and other hard metals.
“We don’t set up factories like production lines-we build an abstract factory that you can put on any side and it will appear on the other side … as long as it’s a certain size or in a particular material that we support, we can do anything in that, ”Power said.
The Supply Chain Problem in Machining
A look inside the company’s factory in Hawthorne, California.
Hadrian seeks to centralize a fragmented supply chain with suppliers spread across the country. Citing his company’s experience investing in aerospace and defense companies, Boyle added that the supply chain now depends on “thousands of mom-and-pop machine shops.” Across the country. Hardware and aerospace companies often complain about it, he said.
Power estimates that there are approximately 3,000 of these small machine shops, which together generate approximately $ 40 billion in revenue annually by producing high-precision parts for aerospace companies and defense.
Josh Wolfe, a partner at Lux Capital, further pointed out that these parts are “not company-owned” but that demand varies widely, from “custom” parts to “large batch “.
At least 2.1 million manufacturing jobs are expected to be vacant by 2030, according to a study published last year by Deloitte and The Manufacturing Institute. In addition, the average age of machinists is rising, Boyle said, a major 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 will retire or the shops will be passed on to the next generation,” Boyle said. “There’s this question: who will take over these stores and who will continue to provide the defense industrial base?
Boyle added that the second theme in the machining job market is that Hadrian’s approach to automation is to “create jobs for a new generation of machinists.”
“There are labor shortages in high-skilled trades,” Boyle said.
Hadrian addresses this problem with a strategy that allows the company to hire employees as machinists “who haven’t been a part before,” Power said. He cited examples of hires Hadrian made at Chick-Fil-A or Walmart, who had no previous experience manufacturing parts.
“We’re getting to the point where they’re making spaceflight hardware within 30 days of getting to Hadrian,” Power said.
Hadrian paired these new machinist works with those with extensive domain or software experience, taking talent from the likes of Meta, Stripe, SpaceX and others.