Chances are you haven’t heard of Tempo Automation, a startup located in San Francisco’s Dogpatch neighborhood, but it’s caught the eye of investors for its approach to low-volume electronics assembly and manufacture. Tempo’s bespoke software and customizable robotics have the flexibility and speed necessary to prototype printed circuit board assemblies rapidly, it says, and evidently, it has a few customers convinced.
Tempo today announced that it’s raised $45 million in series C funding led by Point72 Ventures, with contributions from Lockheed Martin, Lux Capital, and Uncork Capital. The fresh capital — which follows on the heels of a $20 million series B round in April 2018 and brings the company’s total raised to roughly $74.6 million, according to Crunchbase — will be used to accelerate Tempo’s product development and further increase the speed and accuracy of its manufacturing processes.
It’s been an eventful year for Tempo, which was founded in 2013 by CEO Jeff McAlvay, VP of technology Jesse Koenig, Katherine Scott, and Shashank Samala.
The company tripled the size of its software engineering team and doubled capacity with a new 42,000-square-foot factory in San Francisco’s Design District, and Tempo filled out its C-Suite with a raft of executive hires in its sales, marketing, finance, and engineering departments. On the customer acquisition front, Tempo says it now serves four of the top 10 largest medical device companies in the world, two of the leading 10 aerospace, aviation, and defense firms, and two of the top 10 satellite manufacturers in the global space market. Moreover, it claims that revenue in the aerospace and defense market was up 74% last year and that the medical device and technology market revenue ticked up by 73%. (In 2017, Tempo reported overall revenue growth of 500%.)
“We’re fortunate that, by helping our customers apply agile methods to electronics development, we have garnered great interest and demand,” said McAlvay. “Our customers have told us that they view our software-first approach to manufacturing as transformative for their ability to bring products to market faster. This investment will help us drive software development and accelerate the growth of our team to deliver greater benefits to our customers and advance the future of manufacturing.”
Tempo’s connected factory enables customers to upload their gadget designs to machines that can be used to build up to 15 different products a day.
It offers conveniences like automatic quoting and native CAD files, plus real-time feature extraction and bill of materials validation to prevent production and sourcing issues. Additionally, Tempo’s platform autonomously scans design files for manual entry errors before sending them to machines, and it integrates with component and fabrication partners to cut down on turnaround time.
Tempo’s machines are capable of high-mix assembly and auto-programmed to cut down on production time, says McAlvay. Clients get real-time lead times based on supplier inventory and factory workload, along with both production and delivery tracking with live updates. Plus, they gain access to a self-service dashboard for project management and real-time pricing feedback, the latter of which optimizes for factors like speed and cost.
When the printed circuit boards are complete, Tempo packages and ships them itself. It claims that all told, from start to finish, orders are fulfilled as fast as three days.
“Tempo is reinventing electronics manufacturing by putting software automation at the center of what they do,” said Point72 Ventures partner and Tempo board member Sri Chandrasekar. “Tempo’s interconnected smart factory is modernizing the manufacturing process, which allows them to deliver a far superior customer experience. We see considerable market opportunity for Tempo, and we are pleased to support their continued growth.”
Matthew Granade from Point72 Ventures will join the Tempo board of directors as part of the round.
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