San Francisco-based Memfault closed an $8.5 million Series A to help make hardware developers’ lives a little easier.
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“We are the first to bring modern DevOps to the hardware market,” said CEO François Baldassari.
The 3-year-old company is attempting to provide hardware developers with a new infrastructure to give them access to the same tools software developers have enjoyed for years. That concept attracted Series A lead investor Partech, as well as existing investor Uncork Capital to the new round.
“I grew up in application software,” said Jean Sini, general partner at Partech. “I didn’t realize that was not the world for those that work with embedded devices.”
Starting from a pebble
Baldassari confronted these problems while working at smartwatch innovator Pebble — which in 2012 raised a then-record $10.3 million on Kickstarter for its watch. While the watches were in demand, it was difficult for developers to get data on issues people were reporting, he said.
That was the start for Baldassari starting to build an infrastructure to help solve that problem. About a third of Memfault’s 19-person team comes from Pebble.
Memfault’s cloud-based platform currently allows for connected device monitoring, updating and debugging, but will eventually evolve into having even more development and testing features as it grows, he said.
The market for hardware development is pretty open. While some companies such as Apple have their own internal, proprietary infrastructure to update their devices, many are just starting to dip their toes in as the world of connected devices explodes.
Baldassari said he expects application and software development tool providers such as New Relic and Datadog, as well as chip and hardware players like Bosch and ARM’s IoT spinout Pelion to look closely at this market.
“They will wake up to this new world,” he said.
The company — which has now raised $11 million since being founded in 2018 — will use its Series A not just for R&D and marketing, but expects to open up its website for a “self-serve” option in about 45 days, allowing customers to sign up at will, Baldassari said. Currently, the company enters into deals with customers it has had more one-on-one conversations with about their needs, he added.
Even with that process, the company has signed dozens of deals and expects a few large original equipment manufacturers to join that base in the next 12 to 18 months, Baldassari said.
Memfault could become a $1 billion company if it just focused on medical devices alone, but Baldassari believes its head start in the market sets it up for even more success if the company can perform.
“The market is just enormous,” he said. “I don’t see any market risk; I just see execution risk.
Illustration: Li-Anne Dias.
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