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Comcast Catalyst Fund Backs Visual Search Startup

The Comcast Ventures Catalyst Fund, a unit created  in 2011 to invest in tech companies founded by underrepresented ethnic minority entrepreneurs, announced this week that it is investing in the seed round of Partpic, a company that has developed a visual search technology for finding and identifying replacement parts.

According to Atlanta-based Partpic, its customers send digital images of the parts they need to replace and the company’s proprietary platform identifies and locates the matching part down to the manufactuer, model number and other detail required to order replacements.

The company, founded in August 2013 by Jewel Burks and Jason Crain, has been building a repository of replacement parts information, including the images and the associated metadata.

“The industrial parts industry is a $120B sector that has continued to do things the hard way,” William Crowder, managing director  of Dreamit Ventures and a lead advisor of the Comcast Ventures Catalyst Fund, explained in this blog post. “Within that industry, billions of dollars and thousands of hours are wasted each year trying to identify the right parts for repair jobs.”

Crowder noted that more than 60% of the companies that Comcast Ventures Catalyst Fund invests in have at least one female founder.

Earlier this year, Partpic closed a $1.5 million seed round from more than 15 backers, including Robert Saunders, Joanne Wilson, the Arc Angel Fund, and the Jumpfund, according to TechCrunch, noting that some manufacturers have inventories of up to 500,000 parts.

Here’s a video that further explains what Partpic does: