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Upverter launches Parts Concierge, a real-time virtual assistant for engineers

Upverter Office

In an age of Uber and Airbnb, tech startups everywhere are in the business of disrupting traditional industries that are slow to change, and making them more efficient, faster, and of course, cheaper.

This is exactly what Zak Homuth, founder of Upverter, did with the launch of the company’s Parts Concierge service. Upverter, which already works to make hardware engineers’ lives easier through their cloud-engineering platform, established Parts Concierge as a “virtual assistant for engineers”. With Parts Concierge, hardware engineers can request any part to be built on Upverter and added to the design on their behalf. This process can normally take weeks — as engineers have to wait for unique parts to be built and shipped before continuing with their design — and costly mistakes are only found once the manufacturing is done.

Once a unique part is made using Parts Concierge, it’s added to the library to make it easier for other engineers to access instead of having different engineers constantly request the same parts. “We looked at our stats, and the very first thing everyone did when they tried Upverter was to search for a part,” said Homuth. “If they found the part, there was a pretty good chance they’d stick around. And if they didn’t there was a pretty good chance they’d leave.”  

While Upverter wasn’t originally focused on the parts industry, the stats had Homuth thinking that this is something that his company could tackle. “We couldn’t just build every part in the world, but maybe we could build every part that a user needed fast enough that it would be like it was there in the first place.”

Homuth said that the reason why the hardware industry has been so slow to develop a comparable service is because it is still largely dominated by offline desktop software. The cloud, however, is disrupting this industry. “To provide a service like the parts concierge users would have had to email someone, ask for a part, the service provider would then have to make the part in the right format, and then email the part back. Most engineers would probably wonder why not just do it themselves,” said Homuth. “It just wouldn't work as well without the cloud. It would feel very rough and inefficient.”

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