Last November, Apple announced the launch of Self Service Repair – a surprising addition for a company that has notoriously missed such capabilities. Of course, those changes did not happen in a vacuum. The President and the Congress both have a tendency to open up the so-called right to reparation. There are plenty of reasons for this, from consumer choice to sustainability concerns.
But even as once-resistant companies begin to embrace change, there is a difference between opening access to repair for the user and actually making a product by repairing the user. As consumer electronics have become slimmer, they have also become much more difficult for non-professionals to repair.
Founded in late 2019 by former Apple and Oculus / Facebook engineer Nirav Patel, Framework is one of those growing hardware startups focused on placing repair as a key feature in product design. Today, the company announced a $ 18 million Series A series, indicating it as a confirmation of that mission.
“The immense and immediate interest of all of you in our mission and in the Framework Laptop made it clear that we are on the right track,” Patel said in a release announcing the increase. “This industry is far too late for deep personal products designed to last. This was as obvious to all of you as it was to us, and our partners at Spark are fully committed to it as well.
The round was led by Spark Capital – which, as Patel notes, also led Oculus’ Series A. Seed investors Pathbreaker Ventures, Anorak Ventures and Formic Ventures are also returning for the round. Patel quickly notes here that the Bay Area-based company did not “need investor funding to keep the lights on,” but instead used the capital to grow its product offering to bring “upgradeability, customization and repair to more” consumer electronics. “
No word on what those categories might be, though the company says it has already drawn up a roadmap for the next two years. Smartphones seem like a reasonable bet, based on pure ubiquity, although this brand is even more saturated today than laptops. It is also one that has targeted Amsterdam-based Fairphone quite aggressively, and released the Fairphone 4 last year.
Additional funding will go towards increasing Framework’s workforce. There are still questions about whether the profession of repairing users is enough to bring interest beyond a relatively niche audience. Although, although larger companies have made some progress toward repair, it does not seem likely that many big names will approach design with the same openness of a Framework or Fairphone.