Photo courtesy of Backbone PLM.

Backbone PLM, a collaborative platform that streamlines product development processes for brands, said today that it has completed an $8 million Series A financing round, led by Signal Peak Ventures. Participants include Grotech Ventures, Spider Capital, Novel TMT Ventures, Beanstalk Ventures, Brainchild Holdings and Peterson Ventures. The firm is based in Boulder, Colo.

Founded by brothers Matthew Klein and Andrew Klein in 2014, the company’s cloud-based software speeds up product development for more than 100 direct-to-consumer brands, such as Outdoor Voices, Johnny Was, Taylor Stitch, Black Diamond, Allbirds, Stitch Fix and Warby Parker. The Klein brothers’ expertise in consumer goods and fashion — a combined 30 years of product-making experience — allows for an innate understanding of the wants, needs and desires for budding and existing brands in the sector.

Streamlining Product Development Processes as Retail Market Evolves

The firm automates design and production processes for brands bringing new products to market and reduces lead times throughout the supply chain via its cross-functional, real-time platform, which ultimately enhances speed to market, the company said. The investment will enable Backbone PLM to continue the growth of its current services, as well as finance its “vendor portal” that will support key stakeholders such as manufacturers, suppliers and agents, facilitating direct communication and integration with brands on the platform. This opens up opportunities such as “factory matchmaking” and the eventual integration of payment processing, which will allow for the purchasing of products from raw materials to finished goods.

Matthew Klein, a cofounder and ceo at Backbone PLM. Photo courtesy of Backbone PLM. 

“We want to position ourselves to really empower the next 50,000 product companies,” said Matthew Klein, cofounder and chief executive officer at Backbone PLM. “We’re building up the solution to be scalable around all different size clients.” He added, “Traditional PLM is slow, rigid and cumbersome. Backbone PLM is reinventing product development with a platform built for modern, creative product teams.” And Andrew Klein, a cofounder and chief operating officer at Backbone PLM, said the platform “eliminates friction and complexities while increasing speed to market. We are thrilled to partner with such a prestigious group of investors, who will be instrumental in helping us bring our solution to even more innovative brands seeking to meet the on-demand needs of consumers.”

Prior to solutions such as Backbone, brands would manually manage inventory, product images, CAD files, size specs, purchase orders, materials, color standards and billing, which led to employee errors, revenue loss and miscalculated inventory, among other inefficiencies in the product life-cycle management process. Via Backbone’s solution, these aspects of the supply chain are mechanized, which includes the ownership of seasonal color stories, milestone calendars and flexible fields for customization, all available through its admin control panel.

Photo courtesy of Backbone PLM. 

And there is an absolute need in the market for efficient and modernized product development: Only 51 percent of new products are launched on time and a significant number of product development projects yield high cost over-runs, according to a report by CGN Global. The same report also revealed that process quality issues negatively impact the processes for new product development.

Backbone PLM said, with its solution, new companies can be up and running within 30 days. Brandon Tidwell, managing director at Signal Peak Ventures, said, “Consumer goods companies have been in desperate need of an automated solution and scalable standard for streamlining design, development and production. We quickly recognized Backbone PLM as a necessary and proven productivity tool that shortens lead times and increases profitability for companies. We are excited to continue working with the company and to support its continued growth.”

Matthew Klein told WWD, “We’re really excited about this round. It’s not only a great accomplishment for the company, but it is the resources we need to accelerate our growth and go to market, and also [for] our product innovation. We’re excited to power the next 50,000-plus growth stage companies who are going to build products and become the foundation for any company that’s making a physical product in the modern consumer goods space. That’s really what our North Star is.”

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