Things were moving well toward remote collaboration before the world ground to a screeching halt under the heels of a global pandemic, but the past year and a half has undoubtedly been a major one for rethinking the way people work. has been a catalyst. It’s a phenomenon Flux has been thinking about for some time, beginning development in 2019 with a team of employees who worked at places like Apple, Facebook, and NASA.
The startup has created a web-based, real-time collaboration tool for electronics design and engineering. Today it is announcing a $12 million seed raise led by the Outsiders Fund and featuring additional investments from Bain Capital Ventures, 8VC and Liquid2VC. Funding will go toward expanding Flux’s development team, investing in R&D for additional features, and expanding its marketing reach.
Flux cites the explosion of remote work (which won’t go away any time soon) and ongoing hardware bottlenecks, such as chip shortages, as key drivers of interest surrounding its technology.
“The world has changed dramatically since the first commercial chip developers opened up shop in the 1970s and ’80s. Today’s chip shortages are the latest sign of that,” said co-founder and CEO Mathias Wagner in a news release. “The supply chain challenges we are seeing now are not just a pandemic problem, they stem from decades of inattention to the design process. We eventually built Flux to address these issues and We feel very fortunate to have found so many incredible investors who share our vision.”
Flux says its technology is supported by “all modern browsers,” requiring no download. The system features a simulator, automated part-sourcing and version control. The community library, meanwhile, provides schematics, models, and access to open source parts – a little bit GitHub, a little Makerbot Thingiverse.
Wagner tells Nerdshala that the company is taking a GitHub-style approach to monetization.
We are heavily inspired by GitHub and how it changed the entire software ecosystem with its open and community-driven repository of reusable code. Similarly, we plan to have a freemium SaaS model to make it easy for anyone to get started as well as offer the teams and organizations the features they need. This model enables the hardware community to come together and build and share reusable components such as parts, simulator models, and reference schematics that can be forked and improved. Of course, engineers will always have control over what they share and publish. As engineers ourselves, we want to empower more and more engineers and teams.
In addition to funding, the service is also using the opportunity to launch in beta.