Colab's collaborative tools for engineers line up $21M in new funding | TechCrunch

Colab's collaborative tools for engineers line up $21M in new funding | TechCrunch

Engineers Adam Keating and Jeremy Andrews were tired of using spreadsheets and screenshots to collaborate with teammates – so they started a startup, Colab, to create a better way.

The two met as undergraduates at Memorial University of Newfoundland, where they studied mechanical engineering together. When he was completing his last internship before graduating (Andrews at Tesla, Keating at health startup Reflexion Medical), he noticed that professional engineering teams used complex tools to work collaboratively—namely, spreadsheets. And were relying on PowerPoint decks.

“We tested the downsides of gathering design critiques by emailing screenshots of the design back and forth,” Keating told TechCrunch in an interview. “This led to frustratingly long review cycles, endless admin work and cracks ending up despite everyone's best efforts.”

Being a business type Keating and Andrews Decided to start a company., which he called Colab to create the mechanical engineering collaboration suite he would like to use himself. The company's tools, which Keating says are now used by teams at Ford, Johnson Controls and Schneider Electric, let engineers review design files, capture and track feedback and document issues from a single dashboard. .

“Using Collab, multiple engineers and cross-functional stakeholders can review designs together and generate feedback from each other,” said Keating, now CEO of Collab. “Collab brings together design discussions previously lost in emails, spreadsheets and notebooks into a platform that integrates back into enterprise systems like product lifecycle management, making decision-making with data available to engineers. It becomes easier to focus on.”

Colab stores customer design data, such as 3D models and engineering drawings, in its cloud. Built-in sharing tools allow engineers to send files to one or more suppliers while keeping selected information, such as feedback and comments, private.

Image credit: Colab

AI isn't currently a big part of Colab's experience, but Keating says it will be in the next few months. Colab plans to use its growing customer data — in an anonymized and privacy-preserving way, Keating promises — to build AI models that help engineers “do more” by automating routine tasks and admin work. Help make “informed” decisions.

“Colab has a large amount of user-generated natural language data — design feedback — that isn't always captured in other enterprise systems,” Keating said. “As a result, Colab can explain and analyze why designs evolve based on human insights. Colab understands not only how design changed, but also why it changed.”

Meanwhile, Colab, which operates on a software-as-a-service model, seems to be doing just fine financially. Keating says revenue has doubled in the past six months. He expects paid add-ons to be released this year and beyond to further boost profitability.

Colab announced today that it raised $21 million in a Series B funding round led by Insight Partners with participation from Y Combinator, Killick Capital and Pelorus VC.

“The $21 million, which brings Colab's total capital to $40 million, was raised specifically with the intention of half of it accelerating the scale of its existing go-to-market motion and investing the other half in big bets like AI. Go,” he said. “After building a highly efficient business over the past few years the majority of the investment will go into growing the team.”

Collab aims to grow its workforce of 86 people, most of whom are based at Collab's headquarters in Newfoundland, to ~120 people by the end of the year as the company expands into Canada and the US. .

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