Divergent: Powering the Auto Manufacturing Industry
Divergent is revolutionizing the automobile manufacturing process with its additive manufacturing technology
Car and automobile manufacturing is a booming industry, with the market at $104 billion in the U.S. alone. Add in the growing popularity and demand for fuel-friendly vehicles, and the industry potential grows exponentially. However, while economically beneficial, companies now have the additional challenge of manufacturing these innovations without disrupting current business operations.
Enter Divergent, an Alumni Ventures portfolio company revolutionizing the automobile manufacturing process with proprietary 3D printing technology. This LA-based tech company enables automakers to quickly design and build new cars and components while lowering capital investment and production costs. In addition to providing massive potential economic benefits to auto manufacturers, Divergent also reduces the environmental footprint of a typically highly pollutive manufacturing process, helping users pursue more environmentally friendly processes and vehicles.
Tackling Pain Points
Divergent’s system addresses this pain point by replacing complex metal tooling, stamping, welding, and painting with non-design-specific creation, manufacturing, and assembly, all via its software platform and proprietary 3D printing techniques. This approach significantly reduces environmental damage and costs.
Assembly and Test Drive
The Divergent Production System is built around patented modular structures built with high-performance, standardized materials. These designs are connected by 3D-printed metal nodes that incorporate alignment, assembly, bonding, and structural functionality (such as internal structures for absorbing crash forces). The result is a light, strong, safe, and efficient structural system employing advanced analytics and sensors.
Click below to watch a video of the assembly.
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As part of its diligence process, a manufacturing customer performed intensive material and structural testing on Divergent’s technology using a high-volume, five-passenger family sedan. The company outperformed the traditional steel uni-body construction in all of these respects:
- Improved crash performance
- Reduced upfront capital investment for tooling by more than $200 million
- Decrease in more than 80% of factory costs, including stamping, fixturing, welding, coating, and painting
- Reduced vehicle weight by more than 130 kg (vehicle structure weight by more than 50%), decreasing the number of chassis structure parts by more than 75%
In addition to structural solutions, Divergent provides an end-to-end production system, including developing integrated design and engineering software tools, powder production, additive manufacturing, and flexible assembly.
Impressive Founder and How We Are Involved
Founder and CEO Kevin Czinger is a senior executive (Goldman Sachs, Fortress, Coda Automotive), as well as a serial entrepreneur with over a decade of operating experience in the EV industry. He is backed by a team equipped with deep industry knowledge and extensive operating and engineering expertise to help fuel Divergent’s mission. Our connection with Kevin and Divergent is a great example of how we back founders within our Alumni network. Kevin and Divergent truly are putting a dent in the universe, and we couldn’t be more happy to be investors along for the ride.
Blue Ivy Ventures (for the Yale community) sponsored Alumni Ventures’ investment in Divergent’s Series B in 2018 alongside sibling funds Strawberry Creek Ventures (for the UC Berkeley community), and Spike Ventures (for the Stanford community). Blue Ivy and Strawberry Creek also secured a follow-on investment in the company’s recent $160 million Series C led by Hedosophia. AV’s Deep Tech Fund also participated in this round.
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