Spark Labs Raises $4.9M To Help Engineers Make Their Devices Smart

Lora Kolodny | Venture Capital Dispatch | July 8, 2014

A San Francisco startup called Spark Labs Inc. (also known as or Spark) has raised $4.2 million in new venture funding to help “makers,” from novices to experienced engineers, create smart devices using open-source technology.  Several large corporations have recently unveiled efforts to entice developers to create apps and hardware that work with their own proprietary devices and systems, like Apple Inc. AAPL +0.34% with its HomeKit framework, or Google Inc. GOOGL +0.60% opening up Nest to third-party developers.  Spark Labs “empowers engineers” by letting them create and improve products without relying on technology, features and access afforded to them by large companies, said Spark investor Avidan Ross, founder of Lion Wells Capital.

Lion Wells Capital and O’Reilly AlphaTech Ventures led the Series A investment in Spark Labs, joined by Collaborative Fund and SOSventures.  According to Spark Labs founder and Chief Executive Zach Supalla, the startup earlier raised $700,000 in seed funding from HAXLR8R, SOS Ventures and a group of individual angel investors. The new funding brings its total capital raised to $4.9 million.

Spark Labs also ran two “rewards-based” crowdfunding campaigns, both on A 2012 campaign–which sought money to make an internet-connected lighting system–failed to meet its fundraising goals.  A 2013 campaign succeeded, generating about $600,000 in “pre-sales” and donations to help the startup make a product called the Spark Core, a “tiny, Wi-Fi development board,” that would help “makers” create and test their own inventions, namely Arduino-compatible, Internet-connected hardware...