Celus raises €25m for AI automation of PCB design

Celus raises €25m for AI automation of PCB design

Business news |
By Nick Flaherty

German startup Celus has raised €25m with an impressive advisory board to use machine learning and AI to streamline printed circuit board (PCB) design.

The Munich-based company has tapped into worries about chip shortages to boost interest in its cloud-based engineering platform for PCB design. This integrates component data from electronic manufacturers and adds automation to accelerate the design process, reducing design time by up to 90%. The company has over 1800 engineers using the tool and 50 staff.

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The chip shortage means new components are being introduced and old components are becoming obsolete, making PCB design cycle time more important and automating a manual process. Several other PCB tool makers, including Siemens and Altium, have also been developing AI-based tools.

“Celus’ entry into the electronics engineering market is extraordinarily well-timed and important for the industry,” said Sir John Rose, former CEo of Rolls ROyce who is backing the company and joing the advisory board. “Acquiring components for circuit board design and creation became increasingly difficult during the Covid-19 pandemic, but Celus’ technology sweeps away many of these obstacles from an engineer’s design path.”

The Series A funding round for Celus was led by Earlybird Venture Capital, with participation from 2xN Venture, DI Capital and existing investors Speedinvest and Plug and Play. This brings the total raised to over €28m.

Alongside Rose, the round included backing from Sir Peter Bonfield, Chairman of TSMC and NXP, Carl-Peter Forster, CEO of Opel, GM Europe, and Tata Motors and Paul Gojenola, Electronic Engineering Lead at Google as well as Martina Koederitz, former CEO IBM Germany and DACH, & former IBM Global Industrial Managing Director.

Celus will use the investment to boost growth in the US and strengthen its commercial team.

“Engineers spend far too much time relying on their memories, or manually searching parts that might serve a certain function. Celus changes the game, providing engineers with the digital tools to dramatically speed up this process and automate much of the hard work,” said Tobias Pohl, CEO and one of the founders. “This fresh round of funding, and the support from top-tier investors and our prestigious active advisory board, allows us to grow our user base globally and open a Celus office in the US. We want to reach every electronics designer out there, enabling them to focus more time on innovation and creativity, while our software reduces the tedious and time-consuming tasks they were dealing with before.”

“The electronic supply shortages triggered by Covid have, more than ever before, revealed the faultiness of one of the largest and most important global industries. Having observed this market for several years, we strongly believe that CELUS, with its engineer-first approach, is best positioned to lead the horizontal integration of the broken and fragmented electronics supply chain – enabled by design automation,” said Andre Retterath, Partner at Earlybird, who is joining the board.

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