Sometimes the best ideas emerge out of personal experience. While new technology seems to find its way to the sexiest of industries like on-demand services, social networking, and connected devices, more traditional industries continue to operate with outdated tools and techniques – and thus have a large opportunity. The industrial parts industry is a $120B sector that has continued to do things the hard way. Within that industry, billions of dollars and thousands of hours are wasted each year trying to identify the right parts for repair jobs.
Two years ago at a digitalundivided sponsored pitch competition, I met an entrepreneur, Jewel Burks, who leveraged her experience working in the industrial parts industry to pitch a 21st century spin on finding and identifying parts. The company, Partpic, provides visual search technology for the replacement parts industry. This week, we are happy to announce that a relationship that began two years ago has culminated in the Comcast Ventures Catalyst Fund making an investment in Partpic’s seed round.
Partpic seamlessly facilitates the search and purchase of replacement parts using computer vision technology. It is creating the largest repository of replacement parts data via pictures that are taken at the point of repair. A repair professional snaps a photo with a mobile phone and Partpic’s algorithms determine the manufacturer, model number and size to facilitate the ordering of replacements – giving back those wasted hours spent locating the right part.
Launching a startup can be one of the most difficult professional journeys an individual will embark upon. To date, Partpic’s accolades include winning awards at TechCrunch Disrupt, SXSW, Powermoves NOLA, 36/86, and "Rise of the Rest." It now includes pitching their company in front of the President of the United States during the first Demo Day held at the White House.
Despite those highs, Jewel and her co-founder, Jason Crain know how hard it is to build a company in Atlanta, with female leadership, targeting an unfamiliar and male-dominated industry, all while convincing investors that they could deliver on this big product vision. I fortunately worked in this unfamiliar industry years ago and am excited about the high tech solution to an age-old problem. I am also excited about the fact we are welcoming yet another startup with a female founder to the Comcast Ventures Catalyst Fund portfolio, where over 60% of our investments have at least one female founder.
"We are thrilled to be a Comcast Ventures portfolio company. The Catalyst Fund investment team has been nothing but supportive and incredibly helpful since we met them at the very beginning of our journey building Partpic two years ago," said Partpic CEO, Jewel Burks.
The Partpic team is out to prove that great ideas and great companies can come from anywhere. The Comcast Ventures Catalyst Fund is thrilled to be coming along for the ride.
Pictured: Partpic co-founder and CEO Jewel Burks speaks at TechCrunch Disrupt on Sept. 8, 2014 in San Francisco, Calif. (Photo: Getty Images)