Startups Venture

Exclusive: Gembah Secures $3.28M Seed Funding Round For Product Development Platform

Inventors with a viable product idea, but no experience in bringing it to market, now have an option for helping their idea go from design to manufacturing to shipment in as little as 100 days.

Austin-based Gembah, pronounced with a “g” like “gallop,” closed on a $3.28 million seed round of funding, led by first-time investor Silverton Partners, to democratize product development.

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“We want to enable the creative spirit, and help small and medium-sized businesses foster a new wave of product creation,” Zack Leonard, founder and president of Gembah told Crunchbase News. “We’ve seen how other platforms like Upwork have made it simple to create something like graphic logos and graphic designs, and Gembah is taking a similar approach for physical products.”

Joining Silverton in the seed round were existing investors ATX Venture Partners and Capital Factory. Total funding raised to date is $3.78 million, Leonard said.

Connecting entrepreneurs to experts

The 2-year-old company touts its platform as the “world’s only end-to-end product development platform,” connecting businesses and entrepreneurs to expert resources from product creation all the way through manufacturing.

In fact, Leonard said he and his team have vetted and compiled 700 factory partners in six countries so customers can develop products faster and more efficiently than competitors or in-house teams.

Customers who begin using Gembah in the pre-production phase for design and sourcing can get started for as little as $1,000, Leonard said. Gembah also takes a percentage of the manufacturing cost, and then shipping and freight charges are passed through to the customer.

“Our goal is to always provide transparency on how much it is going to cost for the factory, shipping and our costs,” he added.

Although he did not disclose how many customers Gembah has, Leonard did say that the company has already worked on more than 150 different products since 2018. They include backpacks, bags, toys, barn door hardware kits and even electronics like massage guns.

Gembah’s growth

The name “Gembah” is a mix of the Japanese word meaning “the real place,” and the Chinese word meaning, “let’s do this,” Leonard said.

To Kip McClanahan, general partner at Silverton Partners, that is a good description of how Gembah is embracing the ever-increasing world of e-commerce.

Total e-commerce sales for 2019 were estimated at $601.7 billion, an increase of 14.9 percent over 2018, according to data released from the U.S. Department of Commerce in February.

“This initial investment had to do with e-commerce and how that is growing,” he said. “It was obvious at the beginning of the year, and now more obvious today. Gembah fits completely into a trend that has had gas poured on it.”

Gembah plans to utilize the new funding for platform development and to grow its team and network of partners, both domestically and overseas, Leonard said.

The company’s employee base has grown over the past couple of months, with four employees joining for a total of nine in the United States and five in China, he said.

Revenue grew 20 percent between the fourth quarter of 2019 and the first quarter of 2020. Between the first quarters of 2019 and 2020, revenue grew 500 percent, Leonard said.

“We will continue to enable that creative spirit in a much more democratized and standardized way,” he said. “By strengthening our network and honing product development, we plan to bring lead time from inception to shipment down even further, fueling the global product innovation engine just when we need it most.”

Illustration: Li-Anne Dias.

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