It’s always great to speak with founders who have developed solutions that enable others to create. That’s exactly what Natasha Baker did when she founded SnapEDA, a search engine for electronics design. Learn more about the company in the interview below!
Natasha, please present SnapEDA to our audience.
SnapEDA is a search engine for electronics design. Our mission is to help engineers design electronics faster by removing barriers. Basically, our philosophy is: if we can give engineers all the blueprints and building blocks they need to design new products, then we can help them bring more impactful and innovative products to life faster.
Your website describes SnapEDA as the first electronics design search engine. Has any competition emerged in the market?
SnapEDA built the first search engine for electronics design. We were the pioneering company defining and driving forward this new market for multiple years, which was definitely a challenge.
When we first started, it was a radical concept to provide computer-aided design models completely free. It took a few years for the industry to really understand the implications and impact of what we were building, both from an engineering standpoint, but also a business one.
Over the last 5 years, however, we’ve seen a massive shift. Our userbase is accelerating each year, and we now have over 1 million engineers who use SnapEDA all over the world to design electronics, from startups to the world’s largest original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) .
We’re proud that we’ve inspired other companies to follow in our footsteps, and it has been a great thing for our industry because they’ve helped to educate the market.
That being said, SnapEDA has always had a culture and history of innovating, pioneering, and bringing new concepts to market. For that reason, we really don’t consider that we have direct competition. What we do is so much more than providing engineering blueprints. Instead, we break down barriers for engineers in a broader range of ways. One example, is our computer vision-based blueprint-creation tool InstaBuild that helps engineers create content in mere minutes, by automatically extracting information from PDF files.
What makes SnapEDA unique is simple: we help engineers design with trust, innovate faster, and bring joy to their workdays.
In one interview you mentioned that “the main problem SnapEDA aims to solve is trust.” But what exactly do you mean by trust?
Nowadays, there are so many places to find content. You can go to GitHub or to other crowdsourcing sites, or easily google whatever you need. But the real problem that they are solving is: how do I know that I can trust this data when I use it in my designs?
The content that SnapEDA provides ultimately gets manufactured. So it’s critical that engineers have transparency into how the data was created, and the suitability for their applications. We’ve spent quite a lot of time working on this area, including creating patented verification technology, which checks the quality of models.
As we’ve grown as a company, that philosophy of trust has expanded further. For example, we don’t sell our user’s usage data, which is common with other players in the market. In doing so, we ensure that companies have no important technology leaks, that our users don’t get unexpected emails, and that suppliers won’t have unfair negotiating power over them.
We also believe that trust is good for business. By treating our engineering community with the respect and integrity they deserve, we’ve amassed all of the world’s largest OEMs as customers and users.
Before you created SnapEDA you’ve seen colleagues struggling and that led you to develop the idea that became your company. What do you think is the main problem for potential entrepreneurs to fail to take that first step?
I think people say to themselves “I need to learn more before I can start a company on my own”. But this is such a fallacy because you are never going to be ready and have all the skills that you need before you actually go out and do it.
You have users and customers all over the world. Did the pandemic change the dynamics or were you prepared for this moment?
It changed things a bit because we have a team in San Francisco on the sales side, and a couple small offices in other countries that could no longer operate. But we’ve always been a distributed team with a flexible working environment, so it didn’t affect things too much.
In terms of our customers and users, we’re thankful that the electronics industry has experienced growth during these times, so from that perspective, it has been business as usual. Our hearts are with those who have struggled during these difficult times.
Since innovation is at the heart of your company, what do you believe are the next steps for SnapEDA?
Our biggest focus right now is on continuing to grow the content we provide to engineers, both in terms of variety and breadth. There’s over a billion components out there and we aim to have coverage for all of them.
And in the meantime, keep helping engineers design with trust, innovate faster, and bring joy to their workdays.