Oct 2, 2019
| 6 min read

Pulse Check from the Venture Industrialist: September 2019

The Momenta Pulse Check series highlights recent developments in the Digital Industry. Pulse Checks are designed to help you keep track of the ever-changing and rapidly growing global Digital Industry. Our weekly Pulse Checks delve into one of four categories: Digital Industry, Emerging Technology, Talent and Ventures. In this week’s Pulse Check, we have highlighted recent developments pertaining to Ventures.

Venture capital is absolutely integral to technological advancement and overall Digital Industry growth. Our Venture Industrialist Pulse Checks will help keep you abreast of the latest developments in Digital Industry investments. Identifying trends in investor focus and subsequent capital direction can provide a solid indicator of what Digital Industry areas are primed for growth and increased innovation.

In this Pulse Check, we have elaborated on recent venture developments in freight/trucking technology and have also highlighted new investments in industrial IoT (IIoT) and manufacturing.

 

New IIot VC fund:

On September 9th, Canadian IoT VC firm McRock Capital announced its McRock Fund II LP, a $100 million fund focussed on IIoT. Cisco and Shell are notable investors of the fund which will geographically focus on Canada, Europe, and the United States.

Investors are undoubtedly cognizant of the growth potential that exists within industrials. The industrial sector has long been technologically laggard and dependant on legacy infrastructures and as a result, the room for digitization is massive. McRock’s new fund reflects that there is strong investor interest in the opportunities offered from industrial digital reform.

 

Manufacturing analytics company secures new investment:

On September 4th, manufacturing platform and analytics company Sight Machine Inc. announced a new venture investment from the Sony Innovation Fund (SIF). SIF is the venture division of multinational giant Sony Corporation. The investment is part of Sight Machine’s Series C round that was announced in April of this year.

 

Industrial Edge Computing company secures Series A financing:

Litmus Automation announces it has completed its Series A $7M round financing led by the Mitsubishi Corporation. With this investment, the total funding since launching its secure Industrial Edge Computing platform amounts to $12.6M to help Litmus meet the demand of companies ready to move to Industry 4.0. Litmus Automation’s LoopEdge Industrial Edge Computing platform helps customers seamlessly integrate and analyze their industrial devices from edge to cloud.

 

Developments in freight tech:

Over the last month, there have been a couple of notable announcements regarding freight tech VC:

In early-September, freight and port drayage logistics platform start-up Loadsmart announced an investment of $19 million from the venture division of shipping giant Maersk and seaport terminal operator Ports America.This new commitment follows a 2018 Series A round of over $53 million.

Last week, autonomous commercial trucking solutions company TuSimple announced its Series D funding had been oversubscribed and now totalled $215 million. Notable TuSimple investors include Chinese technology company Sina Corp, South Korean automotive equipment giant Mando Corporation, and American delivery company UPS. It is worth mentioning that USPS, America’s national postal service, conducted a two week autonomous truck trial with TuSimple in May of this year. 

The biggest freight broker in North America, C.H. Robinson Worldwide will double its technology spending over the next five years to fend off challenges and pressure from the growing amount of digital startups. They plan to spend $1 billion dollars for hiring data scientists and engineers, expanding technology tools and developing new services for managing freight transportation. This plan comes as startups such as Uber Technologies, Convoy and Transfix Inc. aim to connect truckers and shippers more efficiently.

The freight/trucking industry has long been in need of technological infusion to address issues like driver safety, drayage, route optimization, vehicle tracking, and fuel efficiency. These announcements make clear that large investors realize this and are looking to deploy capital into an industry on the verge of mass digitization. It would be unsurprising if significant freight tech investments continue over the next 12-18 months.

 

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Momenta Partners encompasses leading Strategic Advisory, Talent, and Venture practices. We’re the guiding hand behind leading industrials’ IoT strategies, over 200 IoT leadership placements, and 25+ young IoT disruptors.  Schedule  a free consultation to learn more about our Connected Industry practice.