Altium acquires Toronto-based product design platform Upverter


Toronto-based Upverter has been acquired by Australia-based Altium, which provides design software to engineers working with printed circuit boards (PCB).

In a blog post, Upverter CEO Zak Homuth detailed the motivations behind the acquisition. “If the world is going to design millions of new IoT devices over the next decade, then it needs a new style of design software. These devices won’t come from the CAD world. Their tools are unapproachable, they feel old, and they were made for a different reason — made for professional, trained, and experienced engineers.”

Homuth details the need for product design software to be accessible to any person, and said that the company has removed its paid professional account tier. “Regardless of whether you’re a professional electrical engineer, a maker, a student, a hobbyist, or anyone else, you can now design your product, your hardware, your IoT device, your PCB – completely free on Upverter.”

A participant in Y Combinator’s Winter 2011 cohort, Upverter initially worked like a GitHub for hardware engineers by giving them the opportunity to share diagrams and collaborate. As the company sought profitability, it focused more on enterprise clients and also launched Parts Concierge, an on-demand virtual assistant for engineers designed to handle the grunt work of building parts.

In early June, Upverter announced the pivot from Parts Concierge to EE Concierge, which allowed engineers using any ECAD or EDA tool to request parts on demand regardless if they were on the Upverter platform. The team found that engineers didn’t want to be sold a new software if they were already using one that they prefer, and chose to focus on the product that was giving engineers more value-add.

“It’s a very natural evolution, but a huge pivot for us in that 90 percent of revenue comes from Concierge, as opposed to the 10 percent that comes from SaaS software sales,” Homuth said at the time, adding that last year was the first time Upverter didn’t lose money since its inception, thanks to running pilots with three companies.

The entire founding team will join Altium.

“We have a grand vision of making it possible for our users to design more than just a PCB – a complete product: system design, schematic, PCB, enclosure, mechanical, firmware, software, BOM, manufacturing,” Homuth writes in the blog post.

  • Tom Bulswick

    Smart acquisition by Altium. Congrats to the Upverter team!

    Some financial details here –

    “On 25 August 2017, Altium Limited acquired 100% of Upverter Inc, a privately-owned company based in Canada, which creates web-based electronic CAD solutions, for a total consideration of CAD7,000,000. Altium will issue, as a part of the Upverter acquisition, up to 415,000 fully paid ordinary shares that will rank equally with all existing fully paid ordinary shares as of the date of issue, subject to certain time and performance conditions. The shares to be issued will be a
    component of the purchase price, with an issue price of $8.52. Shareholder approval will not be sought and the issue will not be to a class of shareholders.”