TORONTO, Canada, Feb 28, 2018 – Upchain, a cloud-based, collaborative product development platform, announces it has raised $7.4M CAD in funding. The round was led by OpenText Enterprise Apps Fund (OTEAF) and BDC Capital (BDC), and will help Upchain expand the solution offering and business development into the US and Europe.
The company also announces that Richard Black, General Partner at OTEAF, as well as Sean Brownlee, Partner at BDC Capital’s Industrial, Clean and Energy (ICE) Technology Venture Fund, will be joining Upchain’s board.
Upchain, a portfolio company of Canada’s largest SaaS accelerator, L-SPARK, offers affordable product lifecycle management (PLM) solutions to all stakeholders in the product development chain as well as post sales support. Their tools are designed for companies that manage rapidly changing products, those that work with multiple suppliers and producers, and those with design and manufacturing operations distributed across multiple locations.
“In the past, PLM projects have depended on large, expensive enterprise solutions that rarely met the customer’s expectations. A company’s only option today is to use spreadsheets, emails and ftp sites to collaborate across the value chain. Upchain is changing this, bringing collaboration to all levels of sales, design, manufacturing and service – doing so on the cloud with a solution that is scalable and gets your organization up and running in minutes,” says John Laslavic, founder and CEO of Upchain.
The Upchain platform is designed to address a number of issues that have long hindered communication and collaboration between all stakeholders involved in the product life cycle. The platform aims to make PLM less expensive, more efficient, and easy to implement.
Traditional PLM tools are designed by engineers specifically for engineers. Meanwhile, when a purchaser, salesperson, or someone else in the value chain requires information on the product, they waste time contacting the engineer for data. Upchain, on the other hand, syncs all departments on a common understanding. All parties now have real time access to rapidly changing product and engineering data. This allows a company to bring products to market faster and with better quality, in 20-50% less time.
Communication with clients’ and suppliers’ systems is another typical obstacle of PLM. Upchain makes working across the value chain efficient and cost-effective through an interface that integrates these disparate data sources, eliminates delays, reduces errors, frees up resources, and facilitates client audits.
What’s more, unlike traditional PLM tools, Upchain is built on a hybrid multi-tenant cloud. Instead of customers having to install various, expensive platforms that don’t collaborate well together, Upchain offers true cloud capacity all on one platform.
“Upchain’s platform is bringing some important changes to PLM and we’re really excited to support them in this going forward. The company has a strong product, excellent customers, and an experienced team that has had previous success in building outstanding software companies,” adds Richard Black, general partner at OTEAF.
“Upchain’s solution has clear competitive advantages over the current industry standards,” says Sean Brownlee, partner at BDC Capital’s Industrial, Clean and Energy (ICE) Technology Venture Fund. “This financing will help the company roll its solution out to more product companies around the world while pushing forward its ambitious product roadmap, creating in the process high value jobs in software development, sales and marketing.”
Executive managing director of L-SPARK, Leo Lax, acknowledges the importance of a company like Upchain saying, “We are thrilled that Upchain, in partnership with its new investors, will continue to expand the PLM industry with an accessible and efficient, cloud-based platform.”
Founded in 2015, Upchain is a collaborative product development platform for engineers, designers, sales people, purchasers and other product stakeholders. Upchain has supported teams in the cloud to make some of the world’s most sophisticated products. Its founder and CEO, John Laslavic, is a PLM thought leader who recognized the inability of engineers to properly communicate with all stakeholders in the product life cycle. He created a platform to enable management, communication and collaboration across the product development value chain, developing the software from lessons learned in over 25 years of deploying large PLM projects.
The OpenText Enterprise Apps Fund was formed in 2015 and invests in emerging Canadian technology companies that are building disruptive, enterprise applications that leverage the power of the internet, big data, predictive analytics, machine learning and mobility.
With more than $2 billion under management, BDC Capital is the investment arm of BDC, serving as a strategic partner to Canada’s most innovative and high potential firms. It offers a range of equity, venture capital and flexible growth and transition capital solutions to help Canadian entrepreneurs scale their businesses into global champions. To find out more, visit bdc.ca/capital.
L-SPARK is an Ottawa-based accelerator that connects early stage Canadian SaaS companies with industry mentors, sector-focused venture capital firms, and angel investors. L-SPARK is on a mission to give Canadian companies several shots of adrenaline to scale into globally competitive firms. For more information, visiting the L-SPARK website.