Adafruit interviews Siemens – SupplyFrame, the future of Hackaday, Tindie, and more

Interview

There are a lot of acquisitions in the electronics space. After the May 17, 2021 announcement of Siemens acquiring SupplyFrame (which include Hackaday and Tindie), we reached out to Siemens via Twitter and email to interview the new owners at Siemens. Here are the questions we sent over. Special thanks to Noah at Siemens for getting these back over to us, and the electronics and engineering community. As a matter of disclosure, I started Hackaday and designed the logo/site design over 17 years ago, and had nothing to do with this sale in any way to SupplyFrame in 2013, or Siemens in 2021.

Adafruit: SupplyFrame is a search/advertising and data company, it was purchased for $700m (reported), with the estimated 2021 revenue for SupplyFrame for 2021 of $70m – how does SupplyFrame and specifically findchips.com fit into Siemens? Where do Hackaday (the editorial site), hackaday.io (community projects/events), and Tindie fit?

The Siemens press release says the acquisition strengthens the Siemens portfolio through Software as a Service (SaaS) – not only in the field of Electronic Design Automation (EDA) and Printed Circuit Boards (PCB), but also scaling into other domains and technology fields. Can you tell us more about the vision for the Siemens portfolio? How do SupplyFrame and Avatar fit together, for example (Avatar being a recent acquisition as well).

Siemens:

Siemens’ vision relative to this planned acquisition is clear: Supplyframe will be the nucleus, competence center and strategic core for future Siemens Digital Industries marketplace offerings. Acquiring Supplyframe provides Siemens with an outstanding opportunity to accelerate our marketplace vision and to complement and expand Siemens’ ecosystem of digital services, software and platform offerings. Supplyframe’s SaaS solutions are ideally positioned to bridge the chasm between manufacturer and supplier – the buy side and the supply side – resulting in cost optimization, increased agility, and highly informed decisions. And finally, Supplyframe offers Siemens the opportunity enhance a range of Siemens DI products.


Adafruit: For the businesses and events that SupplyFrame owned, will Siemens continue to hold Hackaday SuperCon? Will Siemens continue to develop and support Tindie? And will there be a Hackaday Prize in 2022 (and beyond)? How independent does Siemens intend to keep SupplyFrame from the rest of its operations? Will Tindie and Hackaday continue to be subsidiaries of SupplyFrame, or will they move under the Siemens umbrella? Who does Steve, the CEO of SupplyFrame, report to, Mike, the Editor at Hackaday?

Siemens:

Although it’s too early to speak to many of the specifics of your question, we can tell you that our plans call for Supplyframe to remain a separate, standalone unit within Siemens Digital Industries Software under the continued leadership of Supplyframe’s CEO Steve Flagg, who will report directly to Siemens Digital Industries Software’s president and CEO Tony Hemmelgarn. And speaking more broadly, Siemens is committed to keeping the DNA of Supplyframe as an entrepreneurial entity. Over the past decade, Siemens has successfully integrated 40 acquisitions within Digital Industries Software, including the recent integration of Mendix (www.mendix.com), which has accelerated their growth and substantially improved their market position as they’ve remained a separate organization and the intention with SupplyFrame is similar.


Adafruit: Hackaday.io hosts a variety of unusual projects. Will Siemens exert any content restrictions over independent creators there? Will Siemens provide staff to care for and manage the Hackaday community?

Siemens:

Siemens did not respond to this question.


Adafruit: Under which data policies/privacy policies/terms of service will Hackaday and Tindie fall under after the acquisition is completed? Will there be any changes to what the users own and what Siemens owns?

Siemens:

Siemens did not respond to this question.


Adafruit: This is primarily a question for the current staff since they may not know, or probably would want me to ask – Will Siemens do due diligence around equity in shares, salaries, and titles around roles at Supplyframe, Hackaday, and Tindie?

Siemens:

Until the deal closes it’s too early to answer all the specifics of this question. But we can tell you that Siemens strongly believes that the people at Supplyframe are the main reason for Supplyframe’s success; therefore, we are highly focused on retaining its world class employees.


Adafruit: Siemens has a new CEO as of February (Roland Busch). How does Roland perceive the hacker/maker community, especially compared to the traditional engineering industry Siemens has historically serviced?

Siemens:

Roland has been quite clear in his commitment to continuing Siemens’ digital transformation, and to expanding Siemens to new segments and to reach new customers including makers. Siemens has invested over ten billion euros acquiring new software and has plans to continue with additional acquisitions. Acquisitions add value for Siemens and our customers and SupplyFrame is a prime example for such an acquisition.


Adafruit: Has any Siemens staff posted on Hackaday, a project on hackaday.io, purchased or sold something on Tindie?

Siemens:

Not in any official capacity


Adafruit: Will the DesignLab space in Pasadena continue to host community events and residency programs?

Siemens:

Siemens did not respond to this question.


Adafruit: Altium acquired Octopart and Ciiva, Mouser (owned by TTI) acquired CrowdSupply, Avnet acquired hackster.io and Dragon Innovation, Autodesk acquired Instructables, Upchain, and EAGLE, Newark is element14, so it appears there is a consolidation for electronic tools, community, and mind share… What other types of “maker” type companies or technologies is Siemens looking for acquisition?

Siemens:

We can not comment on future acquisition plans at this point in time.


Adafruit: Seventeen years ago, I started Hackaday, the site, the mission, and designed the logo that is still in use today; please take good care of it – the SupplyFrame folks did a pretty good job. This is not a question – pt


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5 Comments

  1. It will be interesting to see what happens. As an industrial user of Siemens, the part of Siemens I see is not exactly maker friendly. But I’ll reserve judgement, Siemens has many (many) divisions and some of them are entrepreneurial.

  2. Honestly, none of this sounds in any way beneficial to the maker community, which is essentially about making DIY projects in order to build a community relying more on themselves than the corporate greed machine and consumer predation culture. This just sounds like another
    dinner bell for sharks to feed on their prey.

  3. Technical John

    Love the fact that adafruit continues to be up front and honest with the questions and responses AND LACK OF RESPONSES!

    ROFL the last paragraph was great, ending with “This is not a question”… I was looking for a little *mic drop* emoji or something. ROFL

  4. The unanswered questions seem concerning.

  5. I’m just a lowly engineer at Siemens, but I can tell you we absolutely need the tools/data that SupplyFrame has. They’re honest that Digital Industries is involved in everything we do in a major way.

    I’m not sure about how they will handle Hackaday/Tindie. The only constant at Siemens is change and higher ups/organizations/processes are always shuffled around.

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