Issue #40 - The Future of Manufacturing
Topics this time: welcome Kwest, record year for robotics, massive manufacturing exit in Europe, and many new investments in Q2 2022.
👋 Welcome to Issue #40 👋
this is the second issue of 2022. In case you have missed it: we just soft-launched Kwest - a lightweight tool for managers and team leads to build high-performance teams.
In the past few months, we’ve talked with >100 team leads about employee onboarding, training and enablement. Now, we want to share this expertise with you. We will help you in setting up a new onboarding process or enablement program.
As an example, one of our customers wants to get an overview of her 3+ new employees that join every month. She wants to decrease ramp-up time and see who is stuck. By using Kwest, she gets this transparency and can automate recurring processes such as sending reminders.
Do you want to know how you can improve your onboarding journey or enablement program? Then schedule a quick call with me here.
As everybody else, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about the current market dynamics and funding environment. Manufacturing is a very resilient industry and I believe that manufacturing software will be very appealing to many software investors in the coming months given its stickiness and efficiency. We can also see this in the recent funding rounds that happened in the past few weeks. Lastly, I’m looking forward to seeing more novel solution to our current supply chain crisis.
Enjoy reading - and as always, sharing and feedback is a gift 🙏
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 👇
🤖 Record investments in robotics in 2021
In 2021, investors have more than tripled the total capital invested in robotics compared to the year before. That’s more than $17bn in 2021.
Improvements in technologies such as LIDAR and sensors and the decreasing hardware costs, have made it more attractive to invest in robotic firms. At the same time, Covid-19 has increased the demand for robotics - especially in the logistics and manufacturing industry.
I also won’t stop repeating that most of the time robots won’t replace people working in manufacturing. It’s actually the opposite. Robots complement or upgrade human work.
🤖 Amazon announced a $1bn fund to invest into industrial innovation
Amazon has pioneered a lot of innovation in logistics. To keep its innovative leadership, Amazon announced a venture investment program of $1bn, the Amazon Industrial Innovation Fund.
Amazon will focus on areas such as customer fulfillment, logistics, and the supply chain. Companies that help to deliver goods faster and improve the experience of employees working in logistics are especially interesting.
If you’re interested to explore an investment by the Amazon Industrial Innovation Fund, they have a detailed FAQ page that tells you more about their investment strategy.
🌱 An outlook on the 3D printing market
Hubs has published their 3D printing trend report 2022 with a lot of insights on the 3D printing market. Here you can access the full report, below is a quick summary:
The overall 3D printing market will triple in size to reach $44.5 billion by 2026.
49% of survey respondents printed 10+ parts in their production runs, compared to 36% in 2021
3D printing use is steadily moving towards more industrial production applications
68% of respondents used 3D printing more in 2021 than in 2020
Many of their sources believe the driving force in 3D printing this year will be new materials and composites
Companies that adopted Industry 4.0 prior to the pandemic seemed to fare better throughout COVID-19, which has pushed more companies to adopt Industry 4.0 technologies, including 3D printing
As a decentralized, digital manufacturing technology, 3D printing may become a viable way to support climate-action initiatives, especially given the development of newer, more sustainable metal and polymer materials
🏭 Supply-chain failures accelerate automation in the industry
Eclipse Ventures has published a piece on how the current supply-chain challenges accelerate automation across the ecosystem. According to the article, automation has been an area that has been “under-invested in and under-focused” in the past few years. Robotics are now widely adopted within different domains such as eCommerce, eye surgery, or self-driving systems. Cobots (collaborative robots) have become much smarter and benefit from advancements in technologies such as machine learning and computer vision, and in infrastructure-level innovations such as GPS and IoT connectivity. The article is a good summary of all the progress that happens in the field of automation and makes it exciting of what’s to come in the future. Seth Winterroth, partner at Eclips Ventures, highlights a good point that I’ve heard in many discussions about the benefits of automation solutions: “In order to get a long-term gain, you’ve got to go through short-term pain”.
📈 How to bring manufacturing into the digital age
the most exciting digital transformation trends in manufacturing
the biggest obstacles holding innovation back
how disruption happens in manufacturing
PS: Thanks again for having me @Adam and next time, I need to make sure to look more into the camera :)
IV. About industrial Startups and Companies
🤑 Munich’s ProGlove acquired by Nordic Capital for €500M
ProGlove’s acquisition by Nordic Capital for €500M was one of the most exciting signals to prove that you can build big companies in manufacturing in Europe. ProGlove got started in 2014 and has sold many of its wearable barcode scanners to the likes of VW, BMW, and DHL. It’s a fantastic outcome for the Munich-based company that has previously raised money from Summit Partners, DI Technology, and Bayern Kapital.
🤑 HiveMQ raised a €40M Series A led by Molten Ventures
To become the world's leading IoT messaging platform, HiveMQ has raised a €40M Series A led by Molten Ventures just after raising its Seed round one year ago. HiveMQ is leveraging the MQTT protocol (Message Queuing Telemetry Transport) and helps companies to facilitate communications between connected IoT devices. The Bavarian company counts already a number of Fortune500 companies to its customers and will use the money to scale its platform. With approximately 40 billion IoT devices that will be connected to the internet in the next three years, there is enough room to grow. As an example, Netflix is using HiveMQ to run the Netflix app certification process.
🤑 GravitySketch raised $33M Series A led by Accel
GravitySketch is building a platform to design, collaborate on demand and produce 3D objects. It has passed 100,000 users coming from companies such as Adidas, Reebok, Volkswagen and Ford. Its strong growth helped the company to raise a $33M Series A led by Accel and Google Ventures.
Today, most of the design in its earliest stages is still often sketched by hand where it’s very hard to get feedback from other stakeholders. GravitySketch wants to change that and is building now also a collaboration feature to get feedback from “non-designers” in the product. GravitySketch wants to enable design co-creation and collaboration in the 3D environment - similar to what Miro and Figma are pioneering in the 2D space. Below is a picture how Ford is using GravitySketch:
💸 Siemens acquired Senseye for an undisclosed amount
Siemens announced that it has acquired Senseye, an industrial analytics software company from the UK. The acquisition price has not been disclosed.
Senseye started in 2014 and has built a scalable and sustainable asset intelligence software that is used to reduce unplanned downtime and improve sustainability. Senseye claims that it can reduce downtime by up to 50% and increase maintenance staff productivity by up to 30%.
💸 Construct Capital raised $300M to invest in critical infrastructure automation
After closing its first fund of $140M last year, Construct Capital has raised $300M for its second fund. The fund is led by Dayna Grayson and Rachel Holt who have spent time before at NEA and Uber respectively. Construct Capital targets early-stage companies in industries such as manufacturing, transportation, and logistics which they consider as “areas that have been chronically under invested in”. They have already invested in 15 companies and have now a lot fresh capital for new investments.
🤑 Laserhub raised a double digit Series B led by Evli Growth Partners
The online platform for the procurement of customized sheet metal and turned parts has closed its Series B that was led by Evli Growth Partners with participation from FJ Labs and previous investors. At the same time, Laserhub has announced a commercial partnership with one of the biggest logistics companies: DB Schenker.
Laserhub will use the funding to invest into product, add new processing methods, and to expand into other European markets. With more than 7,500 companies in Europe that are using the platform, Laserhub has emerged as one of the market leaders.
V. Additional funding news in short 👇
👉 BotsAndUs: the company behind fully-autonomous, mobile robots that capture and report all stages of warehousing operations has raised $13M led by Lakestar. Read more…
👉 Agility Robotics: has raised $150M led by DCVC and Playground Global to develop intelligent robots that are built to co-exist seamlessly among humans. It’s worth mentioning that it’s one of the investments by the Amazon Industrial Innovation Fund. Read more…
👉 CloudNC: that develops advanced software to enable factories to autonomously manufacture precision parts raised a $45M round led by Autodesk. Read more…
👉 AtomicIndustries: has raised $3.2M led by Point72 Ventures to make toolmaking cheaper, faster and more repeatable. Read more…
👉 Built Robotics: that wants to make construction equipment autonomous has raised $64M led by Tiger Global. Read more…
VI. Additional content and the I40 Landscape
Industry 4.0 Map - Reinventing the Factory Stack
I updated the map in December 2021 - there are now more than 500 industrial startups in the landscape.