AMS Spring 2023

$160M Drives 3D Printed Hypercar Startup Divergent in Series C Round

6K SmarTech

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Coming off the heels of an exciting presence at the 2022 AMUG Conference, Divergent Technologies has announced a successful Series C round totaling $160 million in funding. The investment will go toward industrializing its fully integrated platform, which combines generative design, additive manufacturing (AM), and automated assembly. Divergent will also be able to expand its hypercar 3D printing operations and meet the demand from automotive original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) for the design and production of vehicles. As the startup completes the investment round, former President of Goldman Sachs John L. Thornton will join the Divergent Board of Directors.

The heart of Divergent’s business is the Divergent Adaptive Production System (DAPS), which covers the entire design to production workflow for manufacturing. At the moment, this means producing optimized hypercars, like the Czinger 21C, a zero-emissions vehicle that recently beat Circuit of the Americas and Laguna Seca production car track lap records. However, Divergent founder and CEO Kevin Czinger told 3DPrint.com that this same technology can be used to produce anything, from cars to drones. This is because it requires no tooling.

David Beirne, Divergent Board Member and one of the original five GP’s of Benchmark Capital, said as much in the company’s recent press release: “The long-term potential for Divergent’s digital manufacturing technology is revolutionary across multiple industries, not just automotive. Its proprietary DAPS system is so adaptable that you could build just about anything efficiently without requiring massive capital investment and a large industrial footprint. Divergent is a game-changer for American manufacturing.”

A look at an exploded view of the 21C reveals how radically different every component looks from traditionally made counterparts. Image courtesy of Czinger Vehicles.

The end product is created with generative design before SLM Solutions’ 12-laser metal 3D printers sinter complex metal parts. Finally, a 20-meter-wide robotic cell performs fixture-less assembly of the final product. According to Czinger, this cell is capable of putting together 10,000 complete vehicle structures or up to 150,000 sub-frames annually.

More 3D Printed Cars from Divergent

At AMUG, Czinger wasn’t able to disclose everything about his firm, but what he did reveal was more than worthy of the investment. In addition to saying that Divergent will unveil its first public partnership with an automotive OEM this September, he noted that his company will showcase a series of luxury vehicles, including a coupe and an SUV, at Monterey Car Week in August 2022. By 2024, Divergent hopes to replicate its Los Angeles microfactory in Europe, as well.

So far, Divergent has over 500 patents field, as well as more than 180 engineers and scientists across its four divisions: Structures, Software (HPC, GD and AI), Additive Manufacturing (Hardware, Software and Materials) and Automation (Software, Optics and Robotics). As the company expands, it hopes to build out a global network of DAPS factories that ultimately operate in a circular fashion.

“This funding represents a sterling affirmation of how disruptive we are in the auto manufacturing industry, one that really hasn’t experienced such revolution since Henry Ford developed the assembly line more than 100 years ago,” said Czinger.  “Of great importance, given the global focus on sustainability, DAPS is planet-saving manufacturing in that it radically reduces lifecycle environmental impact by optimizing total vehicle ‘cradle-to-cradle’ efficiency.”

Joining the Board of Directors is John L. Thornton, former President of Goldman Sachs, who not only invested in this Series C round, but in previous financing rounds as well. Thornton also served as Executive Chairman of Barrick Gold and a Board Member of Ford Motor Company.

Kevin Czinger with 21C 3D printer hypercar. Image courtesy of @iamted7.

“Seeing Divergent in action is seeing the future of automotive manufacturing now.  This system will become the norm in the industry.  The transformation in manufacturing which Divergent will lead will be good for the US, good for jobs, good for efficiency, for productivity and for climate,” Thornton said.

As we see numerous auto manufacturers like VW, Ford, and BMW adopt AM, gradually ramping up to production parts for consumer vehicles, Divergent will be the first to put a largely 3D printed car on the road. The C21 will be manufactured in a lot of 80 vehicles, but Divergent plans to expand to more accessible automobiles as it uses its proceeds to scale up. Partnering with eight leading OEMs, Divergent is primed to drive up the use of AM across the entire auto industry. It’s now wonder then that the 3D printing industry is expected to reach over $50 billion by 2030.

Feature image courtesy of @iamted7.

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