To software developers, the process of creating a hardware product can look distinctly like the 1980s. Even in the most high-tech workflows, there are tons of error-prone and potentially expensive manuals, steps including spreadsheets, confusion, and a general will-to-live feeling sagging through the moldy, solder-stained floorboards of the equipment. development store. Next is Duro and the $ 4 million the company has just raised, in an effort to bring some common sense to the agile methodology at a final-bill-of-materials.top-assembly.final.final.final.final.no-really-final-this-time.xls world.
Duro’s fundraising was led by B2B SaaS investors Bonfire Ventures, with money tracking investors from hard-tech Riot Ventures. The new funding will be used to expand the sales and marketing teams and to further develop Duro’s product lifecycle management (PLM) solutions.
“I am a former electrical engineer. For 20 years, I have designed and manufactured products – IoT, drones, telecommunications equipment, wearables, cleantech, etc. I was frustrated with the time I spent managing the most fundamental elements of hardware development: CAD files, your BOM, and your supply chain data, ”says Michael Corr, CEO of Duro. “There is a category of products called Product Lifecycle Management – or PLM – which is supposed to be a receptacle for this information to centralize and manage it. It includes revision control, and you use it with your own teams, as well as share it with your contractors. And yet none of the tools I used actually saved time or provided value at the end of the day. Everything is done manually and is so process-oriented that it was often easier to just use spreadsheets. Technology is still prevalent today because the established tools are so complicated and error prone, and they don’t really add value.
Eager to fight the status quo, co-founders Michael Corr and Kellan O’Connor developed Duro as a cloud platform to centralize all product data and eliminate the friction of connecting disparate teams and tools. The goal is transparency and give everyone – product teams, engineering teams, suppliers and manufacturing teams – access at all times to the most accurate and recent data.
“To simplify things a bit, the hardware industry is dominated by a bimodal culture. You have the older generation that entered the workforce in the ’80s and’ 90s, who created the tools that we have today. Meanwhile, there’s a gap: Young engineers were more interested in learning about web, mobile, and app development because it was so much more fashionable. There had been no continuation of young engineers entering material space, ”Corr describes the market landscape where Duro marks out his territory. “But now they’re coming back. The material turned out to be a sexy product. The IoT has arrived, and the cost of developing hardware has dropped dramatically. Now what we are seeing is a wave of a younger generation of engineers entering the workforce. They are the ones that Duro is pursuing. They are used to the culture of software development, and they have different standards for the software they use.
In other words, where SaaS, GitHub, and dev / ops processes have completely changed the way software is delivered on an ongoing basis, Duro wants to adopt similar mechanisms and invite the hardware people to join the current millennium.
“GitHub has done a great job of proving that it can be done. You can have a single source hosted in the cloud of your source code control, and then you build an ecosystem of tools, people, and tasks around that. And everyone always points to GitHub. In the hardware industry, traditionally this has not been the case. You have several teams, who assume their disparate responsibilities: electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, procurement, manufacturing, etc. Because there was no concept of centralization, everyone has their own copy of the data, ”explains Corr. “Everyone has their own separate copy of billing documents, for example, and that creates a problem. This creates that additional need for overhead to manage all of these communication channels and make sure everyone has the latest copy.
“We are extremely happy to partner with Duro, which is bringing a new solution to a large market dominated by old companies. When a startup like Duro lowers the barrier to entry for a whole new set of users, it positions them to get the lion’s share of this new addressable market, ”said Jim Andelman, co-founder and CEO of Bonfire Ventures. “Customer affinity for the Duro platform is off the charts – it’s clear to us that it is the PLM solution of choice for engineering-driven companies. “
In addition to the product itself, the company innovates on its business model, drawing inspiration from the SaaS playbook.
“There has been a lot of friction in the sales of hardware software in the past. Very expensive applications, driven by business models of user licensing. And there are rarely trials available – if you want to use it, you just have to pay and accept what you get. Duro is therefore innovating a little there too. We have three subscription plans. The Starter Package empowers businesses that know spreadsheets are not a good solution and want to step into properly managed, centralized, and controlled data environments. The Pro version works right out of the box, without the complex setup and installation required by other products. It is designed for teams that are about to complete their first production run and want to establish an appropriate revision control interface with their suppliers, ”explains Corr. “Our enterprise package is more of the expansive package for teams that have moved beyond those two lower levels, or who are just more established and have existing workflows.
The starter package is $ 450 per month or $ 5,400 per year. The Pro plan weighs in at $ 750 per month, or about $ 9,000 per year. The business package is a little more open, depending on the needs of the client. The Duro team told me that they have contracts ranging from $ 25,000 to $ 100,000, depending on the software configuration.
“Based on our extensive experience investing in full-stack businesses, we know that data continuity issues are synonymous with hardware manufacturing and take a heavy toll on the industry,” said Will Coffield, co-founder and general partner of Riot Ventures. “We love Duro’s approach to modernizing hardware design / development, using automation to replace manual processes and connect teams to information for smart and efficient collaboration. “