Over the past few years, numerous innovations (Arduino, Raspberry Pi) have made it easier for anyone to develop hardware. Faster prototyping and cheaper manufacturing are empowering a new generation of hardware experts to gain hold in an industry once ruled by large corporations.
We are at the beginning of a new hardware revolution, and at Version One, we believe that platforms are key to accelerating this revolution by commoditizing and simplifying all the steps needed to take a product from prototype to mass production (Boris wrote about this topic earlier this year for GigaOm).
In the design phase, we believe that hardware engineering will follow a similar path as the open source software community that built GitHub. A platform that combines collaboration and data-sharing with a massive public repository and cloud-based design, is not only necessary as engineers continue to design more complex physical things, but it’s also inevitable.
That’s why we are thrilled to officially announce our investment in Toronto’s Upverter, a cloud-based platform for sharing hardware design. Specifically, Upverter is a collaborative schematic capture and printed circuit board layout platform that lives entirely in the cloud and is aimed at companies, hobbyists, students, and the open source hardware community.
A good analogy for Upverter is “GitHub for hardware,” as hundreds of thousands of hours of engineering design are stored in, worked on, and discoverable through Upverter making it easier for individuals and teams to design better hardware, faster. Intel, ARM, Oracle, Facebook, Quirky, and Texas Instruments are all on the platform.
Founded in 2010, Upverter is led by Zak Homuth, Michael Woodworth and Stephen Hamer, who met at the University of Waterloo and are also alumni of the Winter 2011 Y Combinator batch.
Version One is co-leading this investment with Golden Venture Partners, and joined by several angel investors. We are really excited to be a part of Upverter’s growth going forward as they help millions of makers, hardware engineers, and entrepreneurs launch their companies and fuel the radical innovations of tomorrow.