Discover more from The Future of Manufacturing
Issue #35 - The Future of Manufacturing
Topics this time: a new course, shortage of semiconductors, AMR acquisitions, sustainability in manufacturing, and the shift from products to services.
👋 Welcome to Issue #35 👋
Hey there! My Newsletter continues to grow and if you read on, you can see that the format of this newsletter slightly changed. I also recorded a quick video here where I summarize the main takeaways from this Issue #35.
Enjoy - and as always, sharing and feedback is a gift 🙏
I. Courses and our Community
👩🎓 Aveo courses: You can now register for our next flagship course: Digital transformation in manufacturing #02. Subscribers to our newsletter get a 20% discount (code: I40NL).
👩🎓 Aveo x hy course: we’re teaming up with Axel Springer hy for a German version of the Digital Manufacturing Masterclass. This online course is specifically made for German speakers and will start in November 2021. We have an amazing list of experts in this course from companies such as Trumpf, Zeiss, Bosch, Lufthansa, including Christoph Keese —> Secure your spot here.
👪 Future of Manufacturing Community: Our community continues to grow and we’ll cross 200 people very soon. As a reminder, this community is designed for people who work on the digital transformation in manufacturing, coordinate and drive digitization projects, and scout new ideas. Please note, building a diverse community is a key priority for us. Join the waitlist here and follow us on LinkedIn to stay up-to-date.
🌱 Community session about sustainability: we’re hosting a community event about Sustainability in Manufacturing on the 21st of October. Sign-up here.
II. Work with us
🚀 To grow our team, we’re hiring for the following roles:
Get in touch if you would like to work with us. More to come soon!
Got a friend or colleague interested in the future of manufacturing? Help me spread the word by sharing the newsletter if you like it!
III. What I’ve enjoyed reading 👇
☁️ The shortage of semiconductors and the European Chip Act.
The world is short of semiconductors. This has a big impact on various industries - from automotive OEMs that need to postpone car production to broadband providers that are running short of internet routers.
Thierry Breton, the Commissioner for the Internal Market at the European Commission, argues in this post that “the race for the most advanced chips is a race about technological and industrial leadership.” To depend less on chips manufactured in Asia, Ursula von der Leyen has announced a European Chips Act. In his article, Thierry describes three dimensions that the European Chips Act:
A European Semiconductor Research Strategy
A collective plan to enhance European production capacity
A framework for international cooperation and partnership
To visualize the market structure of semiconductors, take a look where the world’s biggest semiconductor producers come from:
👩🏭 Startups are building factories in Europe now.
The rising demand for electrical cars, electrical batteries, and sustainable construction materials is leading to new startups being built in these areas. And these startups have high ambitions - planning to build large factories across Europe for their products. Examples include:
Britishvolt (UK) to produce car batteries
Verkor (FR) to produce batteries
Volta Greentech (SWE) to produce algae and seaweed
H2 Green Steel (SWE) to produce fossil-free steel
Building a giant factory is hard - what we have seen with Tesla building the Giga Factory in Berlin - but the strong demand for these goods will give them a lot of tailwinds. The capital intensity of such projects is enormous though.
🏭 The shift from products to services
It’s no secret in the industry that margins on aftermarket services are on average much higher (25%) than on new product sales (10%). Therefore, more companies are trying to add different services to their offering to enhance and differentiate their competitiveness - a trend that is called “servitization”.
This article by SAP gives a good overview of servitization, what it is, its historical development, and the different maturity stages towards servitization. The article also highlights the importance of transforming the business culture - building and selling products compared to developing and selling services is very different. Below is an overview developed by Simon + Kucher of the sophistication of service offered:
🤖 Agility Robotics develops robots to work alongside workers.
Agility Robotics develops robots that work alongside people in warehouses or factories, focused on repetitive tasks. Besides a partnership with Ford, it is working with major logistics companies and helps them to keep up with the increasing need for automation solutions. Here is how the robot works:
👩🚀 VW wants to invest in decarbonization projects and startups.
As written in Issue #33, BMW recently announced its second venture fund that will focus on sustainability in transportation, manufacturing, and supply chain. Two months later VW just announced similar plans - a $355M venture fund to invest in decarbonization projects and start-ups.
IV. About industrial Startups and Companies
🤑 Intenseye has raised a $25M Series A led by Insight Partners.
The AI-powered employee health and safety (EHS) software platform Intenseye has raised a $25M Series A led by Insight Partners after raising its seed round from P9 Capital and Airstreet Capital roughly two years ago.
Intenseye integrates with existing cameras in factories and warehouses and uses computer vision to anonymously identify health and safety violations in real-time. Since the system can be deployed remotely and plugs into existing infrastructure, the company can provide a fast time-to-value and capture incidents from the first day on. Here is a video that shows you how it works:
🤑 Fruitcore Robotics has raised €17M from UVC Partners, btov Partners, and CNB Capital.
Fruitcore Robotics develops easy-to-operate industrial robots that are called HORST which is not only a lovely German name but also stands for Highly Optimized Robotic Systems Technology. The core of its technology is its software that maps the entire application via a digital twin. To expand its European presence, Fruitcore Robotics has just raised €17M from UVC Partners, btov Partners and CNB Capital.
Fruitcore Robotics focuses on SMEs that need “flexible systems with which applications can be realized easily and affordably”. Use cases include pick & place applications, sorting and packaging products, and unloading machines among others. To use the robot, there is no programming knowledge required. Today, several hundred robots are already in use by different customers.
🤑 Sourceful has raised a $12M seed round led by Index Ventures.
Sustainability is becoming a much more important topic for many (manufacturing) companies and across their complex supply chains. Investors such as Index Ventures see this as an opportunity and just led a $12M seed round at Sourceful, a platform for sustainable sourcing. Part of its platform is a marketplace of vetted suppliers to optimize sourcing logistics and to shrink the supply chains’ environmental impact. Today, the company has around 20 customers in different industries such as beverages, fashion, and healthcare and is looking to scale up its platform.
🤑 Agile Robotics has raised $220M led by Softbank.
Europe has a new industrial startup unicorn: Agile Robotics. The Munich and Beijing-based company has raised a $220M Series C led by Softbank that values the company at more than $1 billion. The two main uses cases for its robots are industrial intelligent precision assembly areas and medical treatment scenarios. Agile Robotics has drawn its technical backbone from the German Aerospace Centre (DLR).
🤑 Tiger Global continues to double down on robotics - Locus Robotics and Ambi Robotics have raised millions of dollars from Tiger Global.
After leading the $100M Series C round of Path Robotics and the $37M Series B of Rapid Robotics, Tiger Global is doubling down on robotics again:
The company is investing another $50M in Locus Robotics that gives the company unicorn status. Tiger Global has already led a $150M Series E at Locus Robotics in February this year.
In addition, Tiger Global also led the $26M Series A at Ambi Robotics. Ambi Robotics is developing AI-powered robotic systems that can be used for sorting items or to pick and pack any item.
I’ve written about Tiger Global and its investment in robotics already in my last newsletter. For those who are not very familiar with Tiger Global - the hedge fund has made a big splash in the venture market this year by investing in lots of tech startups at record speed.
🤖 Several notable AMR acquisitions in the past few years.
Autonomous mobile robots (AMR) are in high demand. In the past few years, there have been plenty of companies that acquired AMR companies. Below is an overview of 12 notable acquisitions in the AMR space. As you can see acquirers come from different industries and sizes, ie. robotics (Kuka, Locus Robotics), eCommerce (Shopify, Amazon), automation providers (ABB):
🤖 Sensirion acquired German-based startup AI Sight.
Swiss sensor supplier Sensirion has acquired AI Sight, a German startup in the area of predictive maintenance. AI Sight got started in 2018 and has previously raised nearly $3M. More details of this deal have not been shared.
Predictive maintenance seems to be one of out (vey) few areas where large companies are looking to acquire startups. We’ve seen this previously with ABB acquiring Cassantec and SKF acquiring Presenso among others.
V. Additional funding news in short 👇
👉 Tanso (DE): the company that develops software to support sustainability reporting for industrial manufacturers has raised $1.9M led by UVC Partners. Read more…
👉 Fractory (Estonia): the manufacturing platform has raised a $9M Series A led by OTB Ventures. Read more…
👉 Raspberry Pi (UK): the low-price microprocessor Raspberry Pi has raised $45M led by Lansdowne Partners and the Ezrah Charitable Trust. Read more…
👉 Coboworx (DE): the manufacturer of smaller flexible industrial collaborative robot arms has raised €4.5M led by Picus Capital. Read more…
👉 Hai Robotics (CHN): the warehouse robotics startup that develops autonomous, case-handling robotic (ACR) has raised $200M led by 5Y Capital. Read more…
VI. Additional content and the I40 Landscape
Industry 4.0 Map - Reinventing the Factory Stack
🆕 New milestone reached: there are now more than 500 industrial startups in the landscape after updating it in early July. Thanks again to nearly 100 people for attending our webinar about the landscape a couple of weeks ago.