Technical Machine Introduces Enterprise-Grade Microcontroller to Drive Development of Internet of Things Devices at Scale

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True Ventures-backed startup launches new product to bring scalable hardware development to software developers.

The Tessel platform makes it easy for entrepreneurial Web developers to create connected devices inexpensively and efficiently. Tessel 2 lets them take those devices into production.

Building on the success of its flagship product Tessel, released last May, Technical Machine is introducing Tessel 2, an enterprise-grade embedded hardware platform that enables software developers to easily create Web-connected devices, including everything from Internet-enabled manufacturing equipment to self-watering plants.

“We’ve seen a ton of interest from engineers outside the traditional embedded industry who want to build products with a hardware component,” said Jon McKay, co-founder of Technical Machine. “Prototyping tools such as Tessel have been getting easier to use but scaling a product is still really difficult. Tessel 2 enables this quickly growing user base to start scaling hardware products even without electrical engineering expertise, and without investing the time and cost you might need with traditional processes like consulting shops.”

Founded in September 2013, Technical Machine raised nearly $200,000, almost four times its original goal of $50,000, through an online crowdfunding campaign in October 2013. The following month, the company secured more than $1M in a funding round led by True Ventures. Technical Machine sold thousands of original Tessel units to customers that include SAP, Microsoft, and Intuit.

“We see a huge untapped market for all kinds of ‘Internet of Things’ goods,” said Rohit Sharma, venture partner with True Ventures, the company’s lead investor. “The challenge is that Web developers can write the code to run those items, but lack the electrical engineering expertise to build the hardware. The Tessel platform makes it easy for entrepreneurial Web developers to create connected devices inexpensively and efficiently, and Tessel 2 lets them take those devices into production.”

Tessel 2, less than half the cost of its predecessor at volume, is designed to be embeddable at scale. It offers the ability to only populate parts of the board that are needed, and to integrate Tessel Modules into the circuit board instead of using connectors. The result is a cost-effective, integrated printed circuit board that enables customers to get to market faster and cheaper than ever before.

Tessel 2 features robust built-in Wifi and a completely compatible Node.js/io.JS runtime. Tens of thousands of Node software libraries can be used out of the box. Tessel 2 uses plug-and-play hardware modules including temperature sensors, cameras, and servo motors, etc. The team plans to support Rust and other languages soon after ship.

Analysts expect interest and demand for Web-enabled devices to skyrocket during the next few years: Gartner estimates 26 billion devices will be created by 2020. What’s more, 62 percent of SMBs say they’ve dedicated budget to develop Internet of Things products this year.

“With its open and scalable platform for hardware development, Technical Machine is positioned to help drive and support business growth and creation as more companies push to develop these web-connected devices,” added Sharma from True Ventures.

In addition to McKay, Technical Machine’s co-founders are Tim Ryan, Chief Product Officer, and Jia Huang, Chief Operations Officer.

Customers can pre-order V2 Tessel here for $35, and less at scale. Shipping is slated for August 2015.

About Technical Machine
Headquartered in Berkeley, Calif. and backed by True Ventures, Slow Ventures, Rough Draft VC and angel investors Karl Jacob and Drew Volpe, Technical Machine is a developer tools company, building an open and scalable platform for hardware development. Bridging the gap between web development and hardware production, Technical Machine is capitalizing on the $310B market opportunity for hardware, software and services supporting the Internet of Things.

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Stacey Clarke
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