Gembah raises $11M to ‘democratize product innovation’

Gembah’s mission statement is a deceptively simple one. The Austin-based company says it’s looking to “democratize product innovation by drastically lowering barriers to entry for creation of new products.” In that respect, at least, it’s not so dissimilar from various startup initiatives that have arrived over the past decade, from crowdfunding to additive manufacturing.

The company’s product is a platform/marketplace designed to guide users through the product-creation process, promising results in “as little as 90 days.” The forum connects smaller businesses to factories, supply chain experts, designers, engineers, etc. to help speed up the process. Just ask anyone who has attempted to launch a hardware startup — these things can be massively difficult to navigate.

To help accelerate its own vision, Gembah has raised an $11 million Series A, led by local firm ATX Venture Partners along with Silverton, Flexport, Brett Hurt, Jim Curry and Dan Graham.

Image Credits: Gembah

It follows a $3.28 million seed round led by Silverton announced in April of last year, bringing its total funding up to $14.75 million.

The company says the pandemic has actually been something of a boon for its business model, as hardware startups are looking toward a more online model — and something a bit closer to home than the traditional sales channels. The company says its revenue grew 500% in 2020 and is on track to triple revenues this year. It’s impressive growth in the face of some major supply chain issues that have impacted the industry during the past year and a half.

It currently has 300 active customers, though it was yet to achieve profitability — hence the new round. “Since most of our customers are e-commerce companies we benefited from the accelerated growth of e-commerce,” CEO and co-founder Henrik Johansson tells TechCrunch. “Supply chains have been impacted to some degree, but as the global supply chain gets more complex and many companies want to diversify outside of China, they need help to navigate that change, and Gembah can help with that transition.”

The funding will go toward increasing the company’s engineering team. At present, Gembah has 55 employees in the U.S., and 19 in other locations, including Asia and Mexico. The new headcount will be focused on growing the marketplace, supply chain workflow and machine-learning capabilities. Gembah will also look to grow its global network and make additional hires in marketing and UI/UX.

“Gembah is a true innovator poised to help businesses capitalize on the growth of global eCommerce,” ATX Venture Partners’ Chris Shonk said in a statement. “The Gembah marketplace promises to unlock virtually unlimited entrepreneurial equity by enabling a whole new breed of creators to enter the market.”