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Engineer brothers founded Forge to modernize hardware procurement

Try to imagine how many parts it takes to make a rocket engine. Now imagine requesting and comparing quotes for each of those parts, getting approval to purchase the part you ultimately selected, and tracking those parts until they arrive at your headquarters. It’s exactly as complex as it sounds – but it doesn’t have to be, at least that’s what two brothers who just won funding to update the procurement process for hardware companies say .

Like so many startups, Forge was born out of frustration with outdated tools in an otherwise cutting-edge industry. CEO Emir Sahmanovic was a mechanical engineer at defense and space companies L3Harris, Blue Origin and Stoke Space. And each time, he ran into the same exasperating problem: getting the parts they needed.

“I’ve gotten more and more frustrated throughout my career,” he said in a recent interview. “I got to the point where I felt that what was holding hardware back were the software tools that everyone was using. This made everyone much more inefficient.

He teamed up with his brother, former Meta software engineer Haris Sahmanovic, to found Forge in May 2023. The couple joined Y Combinator’s Winter 2024 cohort, and this $2.1 million funding round dollars led by Google’s Gradient Ventures includes participation from YC and other angel investors.

Emir called the current material procurement process confusing, overly complicated and unnecessary. At large companies, engineers are typically kept out of the process — the supply request is placed in a “black box,” he said — but they also typically ignore others’ supply orders Members of the team.

This quickly leads to problems: Imagine Engineer A needs to order a part and he needs it to arrive on time to match Engineer B’s schedule, so he pays $20,000 in expedited supplies. But it turns out that Engineer B’s role is going to be late. If they had known, they could have saved money and avoided headaches.

Delays may also occur for other reasons. Engineers who do not have a clear understanding of their team’s purchasing history or supplier capabilities can lead to a lack of understanding of what requirements are ordered, when and from whom.

“It’s a waste of an engineer’s time, it’s a waste of time for the supply chain team and it’s a waste of time for the company,” Emir said.

Many existing procurement tools are simply used as a place to store data, but that’s not where the work gets done: it gets done in email chains, spreadsheets, and PDFs. It’s not standardized. Forge’s system uses an AI model to analyze the supplier’s response (whether that quote is in the form of a spreadsheet, text email, or PDF) and integrates that information into its platform.

For this reason, vendor adoption is not necessary for companies to make Forge work, a barrier that has blocked other standardization attempts. This is a “huge piece of core value,” Emir said. “You’ll never be able to convince (suppliers) to adopt it because they have 20 different customers. They’re not going to learn 20 different tools for 20 clients.

Engineers can also create custom workflows based on business needs, which is essential, especially for large businesses versus small ones. More than just order tracking, Forge’s software also includes intake management, purchasing workflows, quote comparison, and automated supplier onboarding and performance tracking.

Forge already has paying customers and the two brothers plan to use the seed funding to attract more by improving the product and growing their team (of two people).

techcrunch

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