AllSpice, a hardware development collaboration hub, emerged from private beta with the purpose to create a DevOps environment inspired by GitHub.
Valentina Ratner (previously Toll Villagra) and Kyle Dumont met at Harvard in 2019 while both pursuing a master’s degree in engineering and an MBA. They connected over their frustrations at their various workplaces, which appeared to be stuck in the past, relying on PDFs and email to get things done instead of software development.
“It seemed like the software business was off and running,” Dumont told, “with solid developer tools, great cooperation, and powerful automation.” “When I met Valentina, we began discussing how we might improve the space and what influence we may have on the market’s growth.”
Many jobs are still done manually, with engineers spending a significant amount of time on paperwork and spreadsheets, thus the company’s goal was to bring engineers back to spending the bulk of their time creating and producing physical goods, according to Ratner.
According to Dumont, AllSpice’s platform enables engineering-driven professionals to manage projects and engage with stakeholders inside their teams. AllSpice integrates with GitHub, GitLab, and Bitbucket, and acts as a central repository for hardware teams to manage modifications, reviews, and releases from a single location. Remote work and a recent chip scarcity have prompted AllSpice and other organisations to consider creating a “GitHub for hardware.” Wikifactory, which is developing a collaborative platform that allows anyone to construct nearly anything remotely, has received 3 million in investment. Flux is working on a browser-based hardware design tool after raising 12 million in October.
The startup secured a 3.2 million seed round headed by Bowery Capital and Root Ventures, with participation from Flybridge and angel investors, in 2020. The corporation has made a total profit of 3.8 million.
People showed “amazing adoption” of the business last year, with hundreds of user comments for firms, over 30 projects, and hundreds of project repositories created, according to Ratner. To maintain the pace, the additional funds will be invested in new technical and marketing personnel to support continuous integration and delivery.
“We take a very developer-driven strategy, which has been well-established in the software sector for a long time, but it’s still extremely sales-driven in hardware,” Ratner said. “Because certain sales methods haven’t taken on in the industry yet, we make sure our product is first and foremost useful to engineers.”
AllSpice, according to Ratner and Dumont, is tool agnostic, so they intend to add more CAD tools for integrations so it can appeal to a wider variety of businesses and enable hardware teams respond rapidly to changes in the environment as more things become digital and asynchronous.
Similarly, Loren Straub, general partner at Bowery Capital, said she was introduced to AllSpice when the business was looking at product-led development options. Supply chain, manufacturing, and automation, which included hardware, were the most common topics she encountered.
The founders’ combined software and hardware engineering background drew Straub to the firm, and they had both seen and experienced how difficult and outmoded hardware development could be.
“When we went through our diligence process, the frustration levels were like nothing I’ve ever seen. People even said they tried to force their workflows into some of the software tools because they heard about how creative the experience was, but it didn’t work,” she added. “Valentina and Kyle had a deep understanding of how much better it could be if the right tools were built for hardware,”
“Before becoming a VC, I spent over a decade in hardware engineering,” added Chrissy Meyer, partner at Root Ventures, via email. “The thing that big companies like Apple had in common with startups was that we still did design reviews using screenshots. I’ve seen hardware engineers cobble together software tools like GitHub and JIRA, but those tools are made for code, not CAD. When I first met Valentina and Kyle, I immediately got excited because they were describing the tool I always wish I had.”