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Flux, makers of the first fully collaborative, in-browser platform for electronics design and engineering, announced that it has raised $12 million in a round led by Austin McChord’s Outsiders Fund. Additional investors include Bain Capital Ventures, 8VC, Liquid2VC; as well as select investors such as Tom Preston Werner, Founder and Former CEO of GitHub.
The funding will be used to further expand the development team, build additional features, and support marketing efforts. Although Flux’s development began in 2019, the platform’s launch comes at a critical time: hardware teams are overwhelmingly required to work remotely while chip shortages have simultaneously spurred organizations to adopt more agile design processes.
Flux was founded by Matthias Wagner, Christian Blank, and Lance Cassidy; whose collective experience includes hardware and software projects within Apple, Facebook, and NASA. Flux’s browser-based platform offers instant collaboration and design access for electronics hardware designers, streamlining inefficient processes that have plagued the industry for decades.
“I was fortunate to serve on teams behind some of the world’s most influential personal computers,” said Joanna Hoffman, a Flux investor and an original member of the Apple Macintosh team under Steve Jobs. “Yet, even though today’s hardware has evolved exponentially, the software that teams use to design electronics hasn’t changed very much. Collaboration with electrical engineers is still as clunky and inefficient as it was nearly 40 years ago. That’s why I’m so excited about Flux - finally, someone has a fresh vision on how to fix it.”
Another standout feature of Flux is its Community Library, which enables the storage and sharing of open-source parts, simulation models, and schematics created by its user community. Much like GitHub, engineers never have to start a project from scratch again and, accordingly, the former CEO of GitHub is an investor in Flux.
“Flux is building upon many of the ideas that made GitHub successful and applying them to the hardware industry,” said Preston-Werner. “Making it easy to collaborate and build off the work of others will accelerate hardware innovation.”
Flux can run in any modern web browser and requires no software downloads or licenses. The platform features a programmable simulator that eliminates the need for repeated downloads and uploads into cumbersome, more resource-intensive simulators. Combined with its real-time collaboration tools, version control, and automated part-sourcing, Flux helps teams work together seamlessly by eliminating the hurdles and work stoppages that have afflicted engineers for decades.
“In my experience building hardware, I’ve found that designing a specific part or subassembly is only half the battle,” explained Jonathan Ng, a Flux investor and product manager at Nest and Waymo. “The real challenge is getting all of it to work together with an entire team of engineers approaching the problem from different angles, varying expertise, multiple time zones, and in different locations. Flux is building the hardware collaboration tool I wish we had.”
“The world has changed dramatically since the first commercial chip developers opened shop in the 1970s and 80s. Today’s chip shortage is just the latest sign of that,” explained Wagner, who serves as Flux’s CEO. “The supply chain challenges we’re seeing now aren’t just a pandemic problem, they stem from decades of inattention to the design process itself. We built Flux to finally address these issues and we feel very fortunate to have found so many incredible investors who share our vision.”
In addition to Werner, Ng, and Hoffman, investors include Anne Raimondi, Board member at Asana, Patreon, and Gusto; Lenny Rachitsky, Product Growth Lead at Airbnb & Product Management Guru; Andy Szybalski, Design Lead at Uber Eats; Alain Rossmann, founding member of the original Apple Macintosh team; Seth Bannon, Founding Partner at fifty.vc; Adam Lisagor, CEO, Sandwich Video; Andy Berman, Founder & CEO at Nanit & Vowel; Lucy Guo, Founder at Scale AI; Brian Norgard, CPO at Tinder; Chris Schaepe; Drew Moxon; Philip Berner; and others.