Our Investment in Backbone

by Jaclyn Hester

We are pleased to announce Foundry Group’s investment in Backbone. Based in Boulder, CO, Backbone is a next generation workflow solution that helps consumer goods companies manage the complex design and product development process from anywhere, on any device.

Built for the direct-to-consumer (DTC) economy, Backbone addresses the need for efficient and modernized product development. Prior to Backbone, product development teams had two options: manually manage the process using a bunch of separate apps not built for product development or use a clunky, out-dated, legacy incumbent. These options often led to problems like human error, redesigns, sending incorrect data to manufacturers, inventory miscalculations, missed deadlines, and ultimately loss of revenue. With the rise of eCommerce and DTC brands, consumer goods companies needed a better way to get products to market, faster. Understanding that speed to market is defining competitive supply chains, Backbone is building next generation product development tools to suit today’s fast-paced brands. 

Backbone provides an intuitive and modern user interface that puts everything in one place, centralizing data and communication between internal and external teams. The platform enables customers to design, annotate, iterate, and push to production faster than ever before, with some customers reporting a 10x increase in speed to market. With Backbone, users can do things like manage the milestone calendar, create tech packs, iterate on designs, track factory communications, sample phases, and purchase orders, all through to the end product. 

We’ve seen first hand from investing in DTC brands the inefficiencies and difficulties in getting great products to market. With Backbone’s modern and seamless platform experience, we believe it is the only real solution for brands to work in a fully digital workspace. 

Backbone fits in our glue theme, enabling process automation and seamless collaboration through software. 

Backbone is already serving some of the most exciting consumer brands out there including Warby Parker, Away, Parachute, Outdoor Voices, allbirds, Movado, and Betabrand, a Foundry Group portfolio company. Having Betabrand as a (very happy) customer wasn’t our only connection to Backbone. Our partner fund, Spider Capital, was one of Backbone’s earliest investors. Spider’s managing director, Michael Neril, introduced us to Backbone’s CEO, Matthew Klein, several years ago and has been keeping us updated with the company’s progress along the way. We’re excited to have Matthew and the team indirectly and, now, directly in the “Foundry family.”

Backbone was founded by fashion and consumer goods industry veterans (and brothers), Matthew and Andrew Klein. Having felt the pain point themselves for many years, they decided it was time to build a better solution for developing next generation products.

You can find Backbone’s announcement of the financing here and tell your DTC friends to check out Backbone!