Flow Engineering wants to modernize the hardware engineering design process
Software engineers have a number of tools to organize their projects, the main one being Git software like GitLab or GitHub, but hardware engineers today lack the same principle of organization.
They’re stuck with a lot of technology that doesn’t communicate well with each other.
He has them create Excel spreadsheets to organize their work, a method that’s prone to error due to its manual nature.
Flow Engineering wants to fix that system and give hardware engineers.
The people who build complex systems like rockets and race cars, the same kinds of tools as their software counterparts.
Today, the company announced a seed round of $8.5 million.
Pari Singh, founder and CEO of Flow, says they’re replacing spreadsheets and helping to bring automation.
Integration and collaboration to the hardware engineering process, which he says hasn’t evolved much in the past 30 years.
These engineers work in different modeling software, then have meetings or share changes via email and spreadsheets, none of which really take advantage of the digital realm in the true sense of the word.
“They can work in Excel, MATLAB, simulation models or CAD models.
The problem is that these models live in different tools and don’t talk to each other, which means there is a fragmentation problem.
We do not have a single source of truth about design. So what Flow does is it glues all these models together and helps the engineering team know if they’re meeting their basic requirements or not,” Singh told TechCrunch.
He says most big companies try to push their own, but the problem his startup is trying to solve requires a level of focus that big companies, despite their vast resources, typically lack.
He says these companies typically do their own automation, but he believes they lack a real solution.
“And what these engineering teams don’t need is automation, it’s abstraction, and that’s a very subtle, very important shift in how we look at this problem space, but one that completely changes the solutions you build,” he said.
The product is currently in private beta, so it’s very early days for the company.
The plan is to use the money to continue building and refining the solution before shipping a generally available solution next year.
The idea is to replace the table to begin with and layer on more features over time.
“Today we have a really clear use case, which is to replace an Excel spreadsheet for design parameters and requirements.
And we help connect those requirements to those design parameters.
And over time, as we build more and more integrations, we’ll be able to deliver more value in a fairly productive way,” Singh said.
The startup has about a dozen employees and plans to top around 20 next year.
In building the company, Singh says diversity is a key element for him, but finding diverse talent is a challenge, especially since people with experience tend to be male.
“When I talk about the specialization of the engineering and hardware engineering market, the industry I come from has a real problem with diversity.
And that’s a really important factor for us and we really see ourselves as a company that represents a new age of engineering.
And we want to be able to do that in the tool and the product and how we communicate with customers, but also who we are,” he said.
An initial investment of US$8.5 million was led by EQT Ventures with participation from Backed VC and several prominent industry angels.