Today, Y Combinator backed Octopart has launched a vertical search engine for electronics parts, ideal for electrical engineers and hobbyists alike. The engine helps electronics buyers find the best deals by aggregating and normalizing product data from Allied Electronics, Digi-Key, Mouser, and Newark InOne. The site was started by two physics grad students, frustrated by continuously facing difficult price comparisons while buying supplies for their lab. They recently dropped out to pursue the development of Octopart along with other verticals.
Searching supports advanced search functions like wildcards, phrase matching, and boolean operators. The results feature price comparisons by varying quantities, availability, along with a flashpaper and pdf report on the part specifications. After playing around with the engine, I know more about the prices and specification of plug-in relay switches than I ever thought I would. The two founders, Sam and Andres, hope to integrate the engine into hobbyist websites, making it possible to find the cheapest deals on all the parts going into your latest late-night garage project.