Fictiv: How This Company Makes Custom Manufacturing Simpler By Offering Parts On-Demand

By Amit Chowdhry • Aug 8, 2023

Fictiv is the operating system (OS) for custom manufacturing that makes it faster, easier, and more efficient to source and supply mechanical parts. The company’s intelligent OS, supported by best-in-class operations talent, orchestrates a network of highly vetted and managed partners around the globe for fast, high-quality manufacturing, from quote to delivery. To date, Fictiv manufactured more than 20 million parts for early-stage companies and large enterprises alike, helping them innovate with agility and get products to market faster. To learn more, Pulse 2.0 interviewed Riley Hall, Fictiv’s Director of Product Marketing.

Riley Hall’s Background

Riley Hall

Hall has a background in both engineering and business, with a Mechanical Engineering degree from the University of Michigan and an MBA from the University of Colorado.

“I have spent almost all of my career in manufacturing, focusing on metrology, commercial construction, 3D Printing, and now Digital Manufacturing,” said Hall.

Formation Of Fictiv

How did the idea for Fictiv come together? “Fictiv started ten years ago when the company CEO and Co-Founder Dave Evans experienced first-hand how difficult it was to source custom mechanical parts for new product development as the first engineering hire at Ford’s Silicon Valley Innovation Lab,” Hall pointed out. “The seed was planted that we need better digital infrastructure for custom manufacturing to simplify the sourcing process,” Hall shared. “And so, Fictiv was born as the operating system that connects highly-vetted suppliers around the globe and provides the ordering interface as well as the operations system to make it fast, easy, and reliable for engineers to order the parts they need when they need them.”

Economic Effect

Has the current macroeconomic climate had any effect on the company? “The silver lining of the current macroeconomic climate is that it acts as a catalyst for technological investment in manufacturing. Manufacturing and engineering leaders face substantial barriers in new product development, including a shortage of engineering talent, and they need to operate more efficiently. Digital tools like Fictiv can help them achieve their goals,” Hall emphasized.

Core Products

What are Fictiv’s core products and features? “Fictiv provides a digital platform for streamlined ordering of 3D printing, CNC machining, injection molding, and urethane casting services. Engineers and purchasers simply upload their design files. Then our platform uses artificial intelligence to analyze the manufacturability of those files for instant pricing, lead time, and design for manufacturability feedback,” Hall explained. “Once the order is placed, we strategically source production within our highly-vetted network of manufacturing partners worldwide for fast, efficient, high-quality production. And customers can track the production status along the way right on their account.”

Evolution Of Fictiv’s Technology

How has Fictiv’s technology evolved since launching? “Because Fictiv doesn’t own or operate machines, we are 100% focused on developing the best possible customer experience for custom part sourcing,” Hall noted. “So we are constantly improving the features on our ordering platform as well as expanding our manufacturing network with the premium service our customers have come to rely on from us.”

Significant Milestones

What have been some of Fictiv’s most significant milestones? Hall cited:

“Notably, last year, we launched Fictiv Premium, a first-of-its-kind team-based subscription offering, where new product development teams can collaborate on the Fictiv platform to source parts collaboratively with unprecedented cross-functional visibility and control. Other key milestones in the last year include our $100M Series E funding round, achieving industry-leading SOC II Type 2 security for intellectual property protection, and launching 3D visualization for injection molding DFM feedback.”

Customer Success Stories

When I asked Hall about a customer success story, he highlighted the following:

“We recently published an incredible customer success story with a space technology company called Heliospace. They produce flight hardware, systems engineering, and mission formulation services to NASA and other organizations, and we were able to help them reduce lead times for critical CNC machined components from 18 weeks down to just two weeks. That’s an incredible acceleration in new product development that has helped Heliospace de-risk the launch of new products and services for their clients.”


Fictiv has garnered $192 million in total investment since its founding in 2013.

Differentiation From The Competition

What differentiates Fictiv from its competition? “What really makes Fictiv unique is our world-class global manufacturing operations team. Yes, we have best-in-class technology powered by artificial intelligence, but when you pair that with our on-the-ground teams in all of our global manufacturing regions that manage supplier quality, strategic sourcing, and logistics, it becomes a solution not just for quick-turn parts but also for critical builds and bridge production,” Hall explained. “It enables new product development teams to outsource that part of their supply chain management so they can focus on innovation. We are a strategic manufacturing partner for our customers to launch new products with speed and rigorous quality standards.”

Discussion About Automation

Before this interview, I met with Hall at the A3 Automate conference in Detroit earlier this year, where he presented the company’s automation capabilities. These are some of the discussion points that came up after that.

Amit Chowdhry (Pulse 2.0): How can automation be effectively leveraged to drive speed to market in low-volume custom manufacturing?

Riley Hall (Fictiv): Automation is a powerful tool to reduce the latency between tasks in sourcing custom-manufactured parts. There is a ton of inefficiency that traditionally occurs between the steps of quoting, design for manufacturability, communicating requirements, producing a work order, and so on. In total, there are 9 key steps or “nodes” that Fictiv has identified in the process and we utilize software automation to drive efficiency and reduce that latency. As a result, customers can go from design to part-in-hand 2-7 times faster with Fictiv.

Amit Chowdhry (Pulse 2.0): What are the key areas or processes within custom manufacturing that can benefit the most from automation?

Riley Hall (Fictiv): The biggest area of opportunity is in the up-front communication – that’s where an engineer or procurement manager is traditionally using a combination of email and PowerPoint to request quotes from multiple different suppliers, communicate requirements, and go back and forth of design for manufacturability (DFM) feedback to land on a solution and winning quote. This workflow is very time and labor-intensive without the right digital tools and can cause teams to lose weeks in a development cycle.

Amit Chowdhry (Pulse 2.0): How does automation impact the overall flexibility and agility of a full-service custom manufacturing provider?

Riley Hall (Fictiv): It’s a game-changer! Here’s a great example: back in 2022, there was a complete lockdown in Shenzhen, China, due to Covid, and so all of a sudden, supply chains were disrupted, and production in that region came to a halt. Because Fictiv’s supply chain is built on a digital infrastructure with automated workflows, we were quickly able to respond with agility and shift workflows to other unaffected regions in Asia and the U.S. This all happened in 24 hours without disruption to customer orders. That type of rapid response would not be possible without automation.

Amit Chowdhry (Pulse 2.0): Are there any potential challenges or limitations when implementing automation in low-volume custom manufacturing? How can they be overcome?

While automation is a powerful tool, we still need skilled people in the loop in manufacturing to manage exceptions, ensure quality, and keep the engine humming with reliability. Customers love Fictiv because you can order through our platform completely self-serve if you like, but when there are exceptions, special requirements, or change orders, we also have an incredible team helping to orchestrate our supply chain and are available for human-to-human conversations. We need both automation and great people to make manufacturing happen at scale.

Amit Chowdhry (Pulse 2.0): What are the considerations or trade-offs that need to be considered when balancing automation with customization in low-volume custom manufacturing?

Riley Hall (Fictiv): This speaks to my earlier point about the importance of bringing together automation and skilled people. Automation is great for certain things that are straightforward and easily repeatable, while humans are great for creative problem-solving and customization. When we have both people and technology working together in harmony, you get the best of both worlds.

Future Company Goals

What are some of Fictiv’s future company goals? “Manufacturing leaders want choice and flexibility when it comes to sourcing, as well as a reliable supply chain no matter what is happening in the world, so we have some exciting plans to continue expanding our global manufacturing network to offer Fictiv’s trusted quality for U.S. production, near-shoring, as well as low-cost overseas services.”