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Manufacturing startup Hadrian Automation has raised $90 million to build a second autonomous factory in Torrance, with the goal of getting the new facility up and running by this summer.
Hadrian told CNBC that its planned 100,000-square-foot factory in Torrance—not far from its first factory location in Hawthorne—will be operational by this August. The startup, which aims to automate manufacturing processes for aerospace and defense companies, also plans to grow from 40 employees currently to around 120 by the end of this year.
The $90 million round—which appears to round out the $36 million that Hadrian reported raising in January, as dot.LA reported at the time—was co-led by Silicon Valley venture firms Andreessen Horowitz and previous backer Lux Capital. Investors Lachy Groom, Caffeinated Capital, Founders Fund, Construct Capital and 137 Ventures also participated in the funding.
As part of the deal, Andreessen Horowitz partner Katherine Boyle and Lux Capital partner Brandon Reeves will join Hadrian’s board.
“Chris’s realization after talking with hundreds of machine shops and even more machinists is the hard truth we can’t ignore: financial engineering doesn’t solve the core problem of making aerospace and defense parts faster and cheaper,” Boyle said in a statement provided to dot.LA. “You need to build automation and solve a complex engineering problem in the physical world to truly shore up the aerospace and defense supply chain.”
Hadrian CEO Christopher Power did not immediately return a request for comment. He told CNBC that the company now has three aerospace customers that build rockets and satellites for which Hadrian is manufacturing aluminum components, but did not disclose the companies’ names.
Hadrian wants to create factories that can automatically manufacture parts for rockets, satellites, jets and drones at a rapid pace with limited human interference. Power told CNBC that the startup’s existing factory in Hawthorne “can produce space and defense parts 10 times faster and more efficient than anyone else.”
“We’re not setting up factories that are like manufacturing lines—we’re building an abstract factory that you can drop any part into and it comes out the other side,” Power said. “As long as it fits within a certain size or certain material that we support, we can make anything within that.” The CEO added that Hadrian soon plans to expand its manufacturing offerings into hard metals like steel.
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Hadrian Automation, a startup developing automated manufacturing plants for the aerospace and defense industries in the Los Angeles area, has raised $36.4 million in new funding, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing.
Hadrian, which is based in San Francisco but has operations in Hawthorne, secured the funding from a total of 28 different investors, according to the SEC filing. The identities of those investors were not disclosed. The startup previously raised a $9.5 million seed round last spring from the likes of Lux Capital, Founders Fund, and Construct Capital.
Hadrian aims to create highly efficient, completely automated factories that produce parts for aerospace applications including rockets, drones, satellites, and jets. Inspired by SpaceX founder Elon Musk—who once said of Tesla that “The factory is the product”—Hadrian founder and CEO Christopher Power told TechCrunch last year that he believes the space industry needs to overhaul its manufacturing setup if it wants to reach its full growth potential.
“If you look at the sheer number of people that we need to train and hire on our new technology and new systems, that people problem and that training problem is part of growing our business,” Power said. He noted that it would be faster and cheaper for firms to produce precision space parts if they invested in automated factories.
Automated aerospace manufacturing is now on the rise, with the likes of Long Beach-based firms Relativity Space and Rocket Lab deploying 3D printing to build rockets. Hadrian believes it can court some of these newer space players to use its robot-staffed factories.
Representatives for Hadrian declined to comment on the raise.
Hadrian’s team includes alumni from aerospace heavyweights like Lockheed Martin and SpaceX. Its head of quality assurance, Matthew Mueller, held several senior manufacturing roles at SpaceX over nearly three years. It also hired former Oculus head of mechatronics Simon Hallam as its head of engineering in June, and appears likely to use part of this funding to continue expanding its small team. As of last April, the startup reported a staff of eight people including Power, and its website indicates that it is actively hiring for jobs in Los Angeles and San Francisco.