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Prototype manufacturer Tempo Automation gets $8M Series A to upgrade factory

TechCrunch TechCrunch 29/06/2016 Brian Heater

There’s little question that we’re living in the midst of a hardware startup renaissance. Crowdfunding, low cost components, rapid prototyping, scalable manufacturing – the stars have aligned perfectly to facilitate a golden age for innovative hardware solutions – but roadblocks still remain.

Tempo Automation is a San Francisco-based startup built around the admirable goal of removing those last few hurdles. The company’s mission statement says it best, “We’re creating a world where electronics development can move as fast as software development.”

Most of the rest of the language on the company’s site is similarly grandiose, but what Tempo Automation actually does is relatively simple, offering quick turnaround for low volume prototype manufacturing, turning design files into physical boards with a three-day turnaround time.

“The current process used in the electronics manufacturing industry is optimized for high volume production,” co-founder Shashank Samala told TechCrunch. “It’s great if you’re making a million iPhones. When you’re building a few, It’s like printing a few pages using a printing press. We are building an automated process from the ground up optimized for low volume.”

The company just received an $8 million Series A funding round lead by Lux Capital, along with SoftTech, AME, and Bolt, to help improve its current manufacturing facility, which is already at capacity. According to a press release issued today, “Our offering was well-received, blowing out the capacity of our factory in a matter of months by customers ranging from early hardware startups to large consumer electronics companies that you’ve heard of.”

The company’s main focus is on startups, with a particular focus on new IoT manufacturers, though a few big names have apparently slipped into the mix, even if Tempo can’t say which ones.

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