German start-up Celus GmbH announced today that it has raised $25 million in a new round of funding to help it pursue its goal of using artificial intelligence to streamline printed circuit board development.
Today’s Series A round was led by Earlybird Venture Capital and saw participation from DI Capital as well as existing investors Speedinvest and Plug and Play.
As Celus explains, PCBs are ubiquitous in all electronic products today, whether it’s a laptop computer, a coffee machine, a radio-controlled car for children, washing machines , etc. These printed circuit boards play a vital role in the operation of our electronic devices and typically contain hundreds or even thousands of tiny hardware components – and each has its own specifications, capabilities, price and availability.
The assembly of all these PCB components is carried out by teams of skilled engineers, and it is usually a painstaking manual process. To design a PCB from scratch, the first step is to sketch out a basic schematic based on the specific components needed to power the product it will end up in. These components include transistors, capacitors, resistors, sensors, fuses, batteries. and diodes.
The difficulty is that there are thousands of different models, with varying sizes and specifications, made by hundreds of manufacturers. So deciding which components to use and keeping their capabilities, price and availability in mind is a daunting task that often involves several highly skilled people going through hundreds of different data sheets.
Only after the components have been selected do the engineers set about drawing a circuit diagram to tie all of those components together into something that can power the final product. But even then, there can be problems: with the post-pandemic supply chain crisis, many PCB components can be hard to find, which means finding alternatives and redesigning.
To make your life easier, Celus has developed an AI-powered solution and cloud-based engineering platform which aims to automate much of the PCB design process. It facilitates the direct flow of information between electronic component manufacturers and their customers.
Users simply describe their needs, then, by tapping into rich component data from hundreds of different sources, Celus can quickly identify the most appropriate transistor, resistor, or sensor, based on product requirements, budget, and of availability. Additionally, it can generate concept drawings of how the parts will connect, creating a sort of floor plan that shows where each component should be placed on the PCB.
The company claims that its platform is able to reduce the time needed to design new PCBs by up to 90%. So, he thinks it’s a big deal, pointing out that the global PCB industry is expected to generate around $75 billion in sales by 2027.
Celus has already made quite an impression, with customers such as Siemens AG and Viessmann Group GmbH, a manufacturer of cooling and heating systems, and more than 1,800 engineers already using its platform.
The startup plans to use the money from today’s funding round to grow its business and grow further, with a focus on expanding into the United States. It will also expand its commercial teams and executive management.
Celus co-founder and chief executive Tobias Pohl said the company would open an office in the United States to position itself at the heart of the electronics industry. “We want to reach all electronics designers, allowing them to spend more time on innovation and creativity, while our software reduces the tedious and time-consuming tasks they previously faced,” he said. .