Series 14 – Episode 3 – A startup aiming to build better hardware more efficiently
Paige West speaks with Valentina Ratner, CEO & Co-Founder, AllSpice about how the company was formed, its overall mission, and how it is solving problems for hardware engineers.
With a background in mechanical engineering and experience at Amazon working on large infrastructure projects, Ratner, alongside her co-founder Kyle, an electrical engineer, identified the inefficiencies in hardware collaboration that were prevalent in the industry. Their solution, AllSpice, aims to modernise hardware development workflows through a Git-based platform, drawing inspiration from software development principles to enhance collaboration and efficiency in hardware engineering.
AllSpice's platform is designed to address the challenges faced by hardware engineers, including the increasing pressure to shorten product development cycles and the need for greater agility in the face of rapid technological advancements and supply chain volatility. By integrating principles of software development, such as DevOps, into hardware development, AllSpice offers a solution that facilitates seamless collaboration across teams and disciplines, enabling engineers to respond more effectively to changes in the market and development environment.
One of the key features of AllSpice's platform is its ability to streamline design reviews, transforming them from cumbersome, synchronous gatherings into efficient, asynchronous digital workflows. This approach not only accelerates the review process but also ensures comprehensive documentation and traceability of design decisions, which is crucial for troubleshooting and future project planning.
Ratner's experience, both as an engineer and a developer of internal productivity software at Amazon, has significantly influenced the design of AllSpice's platform. Recognising the importance of breaking down silos within hardware development, AllSpice focuses on making collaboration more transparent and accessible. The platform supports this vision by allowing easy involvement of various stakeholders in the project, from main contributors to collaborators, without the need for cumbersome exports and manual updates.
In addressing the challenges of hardware development, AllSpice has not only facilitated a more efficient and collaborative workflow but also empowered engineers to focus on creative problem-solving by automating routine tasks. This shift allows engineers to dedicate more time and energy to innovative design and development, ultimately leading to the creation of more advanced and sophisticated hardware products.
The recent successful venture capital fundraising of £6 million at the end of 2023 is a testament to AllSpice's potential and the industry's recognition of the need for such a platform. These funds are earmarked for expanding enterprise support and adding native support for additional ECAD formats, further enhancing the platform's usability and appeal to a broader range of hardware development teams.
AllSpice's mission, rooted in the experiences and insights of its founders, is not just about streamlining the hardware development process; it's about enabling the creation of groundbreaking hardware products that can shape the future. As the landscape of hardware engineering continues to evolve, platforms like AllSpice play a pivotal role in ensuring that engineers have the tools they need to navigate these changes successfully, fostering innovation and efficiency in an increasingly complex and fast-paced industry.