Slovenian startup disrupts market with bare bone instruments: Page 2 of 3

February 15, 2018 //By Julien Happich
Slovenian startup disrupts market with bare bone instruments
When Ljubljana-based startup Red Pitaya launched what it describes as a Swiss army knife for engineers on crowd-funding site Kickstarter in 2013, it only took a few days to reach its initial USD 50,000 goal, ending up the campaign with over $256,000 pledged from 826 backers. Since then, over 30,000 Red Pitaya STEMlab units have been shipped worldwide, growing with them a fan base of developers willing to exchange and contribute open-source code for the FPGA-based instrument.

Where Mesar sees a gap in the market for a small startup, large T&M vendors don't see enough margin to be made and prefer to offer boxed standalone instruments to what they consider as a captive audience, sometimes struck with pricey software licence fees.

"If you go to old engineers with a smartphone-based T&M application, they don't want it. But if you approach students instead, they don't want to see a bulky oscilloscope" the CEO notes. Eventually, costly standalone instruments will become marginalized to very specific niche markets, he believes, while the Red Pitaya STEMlab can cover 80% of the market's needs with its 150MS/s 14-bit inputs and outputs.

"We've been contacted by many T&M companies. When they see the chunk of market we can address, they start thinking that they maybe they ought to go into that direction too" commented the CEO, adding that every option was on the table (including an acquisition).

But we understand Mesar wouldn't want to see his company become a sub-brand under a larger T&M umbrella.

As well as its T&M expertise, Red Pitaya's force is its user community that largely contributed to the open-source software running on its platform.

"We create a new solution, they test it, we fix some issues, they fix stuff too. You'll never have 10,000 developers in a single T&M company" he boasts.

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