The era of democratizing our labor and resources is well upon us.
We live in a time in which you can order food from just about any restaurant, and a third-party service pays a random app-user to deliver it to your door.
Wikifactory has billed itself as the “GitHub for hardware.” If you’re unaware, GitHub leverages the global know-how of its users to help develop software faster, democratizing the work that needs to be done. Wikifactory’s goals are to do the same with hardware, and investors are clearly taking notice.
Wikifactory launched its Beta in May of 2019 and just recently closed its latest $3M funding round, securing more than $4.5M in seed funding to date. Currently, the company boasts a community of 70,000 members in 190 countries working on more than 3,000 projects.
Somewhat Familiar System
While Wikifactory is working to democratize innovation, it isn’t doing it for free. Much like other open-CAD platforms, the company provides a free option, but a user’s designs are left completely out in the open. There is no proprietary information here. The other plans have monthly fees and provide privatized innovation among the community of engineers.
The company’s Co-Founder and Executive Chairman, Nicolai Peitersen, said, “Wide-scale global collaboration to make physical things is happening both for open-source and for proprietary product development.”
Wikifactory has also launched a “Collaborative CAD Tool” that, according to the company, “makes it even simpler and easier to share progress updates, critical to speeding up the prototyping and production phase.”
COVID Has Changed Things
Many businesses have had a shock to their systems with the onset of COVID-19. Vulnerability within supply chains has been made more apparent than ever. That’s where Peitersen said, “the need for a viable, alternative online infrastructure to prototype and produce products locally, to a high standard and sustainably, has never been more relevant and necessary.”
Because Wikifactory’s system is completely web-based, the company said that the “3D CAD tool, documentation system, version-control drive, social functionalities, blog publishing tool, global marketplace of product developers and digital fabricators are integrated in one seamless online system.”
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