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.