JOIN Portfolio Day: Showcasing innovation in Industry 4.0 & enterprise
The JOIN Capital Portfolio Day was certainly a highlight of a busy first quarter, showcasing the enterprise software startups JOIN has invested in across a range of industries, including operations, manufacturing, data analytics, supply chain, HR and marketing.
Although it’s difficult to describe the mix of excitement and pride we had while hosting all 7 of our companies at the JOIN HQ on February 22, we don’t want to miss our chance to try.
Here, we’ll give a quick rundown of some of the most promising companies in Industry 4.0 and enterprise today — as well as some of the inspiring insights we’ve gained from their mission-driven approaches.
A new era in manufacturing
The role of data in manufacturing was a recurring theme throughout the day, as JOIN portfolio companies Flexciton, Prodsmart and CloudNC are currently pushing the envelope in data collection, analysis and automation.
Limitless opportunities exist for companies to utilize data that’s already being collected but going to waste, such as customer orders and stock levels. One of those opportunities lies in the optimization of manufacturing planning and scheduling.
Flexciton CEO Jamie Potter explained how his AI-driven software gathers existing sources of data to help drive manufacturing plants toward more optimal uses of time and resources. Instead of workers manually discussing the plan and schedule for their factories, they can simply push a button on Flexciton’s software for the best possible plan: “Within seconds, the user can have an optimized production plan and schedule,” Potter said.
Goncalo Fortes, CEO and Founder of Prodsmart, began by mentioning that manufacturing SMEs lose $200 billion per year due to deficient production process tracking. By turning mobile devices into smart sensors, he said, Prodsmart is giving managers a real-time understanding of their production lines and job shops. With technology and processes becoming increasingly complex, Prodsmart’s type of software helps to solve a fundamental challenge in today’s digitizing industrial sector: collaboration. “We bring the people, the process and the machines closer together,” Fortes said.
Automation doesn’t just stop at processes and supply chains: Industrial machinery requires precise control, and CloudNC’s AI-based software does just that for a metal-shaving tool called the CNC milling machine. “Very few people have heard or seen this machine, but it’s used in almost all types of manufacturing,” said CloudNC founder Theo Saville. “It’s literally the opposite of 3D printing.”
Whether intentional or not, Saville’s statements alluded to the necessity of digging deeper past industry buzzwords (we’ve heard plenty about 3D printing) and into the real, behind-the-scenes issues that plague various industries.
Algorithm-driven business operations
Moving into more general enterprise solutions, beWanted and Shareiq presented data-driven solutions on recruiting/HR and marketing, respectively.
Recruiting remains one of the most challenging tasks for growing companies of all sizes, and beWanted inverts the traditional process to allow companies to connect with students or recent grads who are qualified job candidates. With all sectors moving towards smart or AI-driven tools to automate processes, beWanted pushes HR to follow suit — fundamentally changing the way the next generation seeks employment.
The company has developed an algorithm to help identify employable candidates within a large volume of CVs, but the mission doesn’t stop there. Ultimately, beWanted aims to funnel the right talent into the right places. “We tell [the less employable candidates] what they’re lacking, what skill set they are missing or what they need to do to get into a certain market,” said Founder and CMO Ignacio Lucea. “We help the people who want to improve.”
In addition to recruiting, marketing now involves synthesizing large pools of data and information from multiple sources. Media is especially important in the era of information overload, but still remains difficult to track, measure and optimize for marketing benefits.
Dan Kraus, VP Product at ShareIQ, explained how the company’s platform helps brands evaluate and capitalize on the value of a traditionally difficult-to-measure resource. “Our secret sauce is the extremely rapid method of digitizing and comparing images. We’ve categorized over 1 trillion images and we’re not slowing down,” he said. “To do that, we’ve actually broken through a couple technical scale barriers — each of which took us about a year to get through.”
Evolving security and property management
With proptech on the rise, software is playing an increasingly large role in building operations and day-to-day property management.
Gregory Blondeau, Founder and Director of Proxyclick, introduced his smart visitor check-in solution that utilizes proprietary software and an iPad.
Blondeau described the importance of Proxyclick’s hidden complexity: “The iPad is only what you see,” he said. “The exciting thing is what you don’t see.” This makes arriving somewhere a frictionless, paperless and secure process — which are all part of the company’s mission.
Although Proxyclick currently boasts a large customer base in the US, the company continues to tackle GDPR and data privacy concerns in tougher European markets — reminding us that a strong belief in one’s own mission is crucial for success.
Optimizing the backbone of software development
JOIN’s Porfolio Day truly highlighted the importance of efficiency and resourcefulness in an increasingly digitizing world. Co-founder and CEO of Codacy, Jaime Jorge, hit this point home with a solution for a widespread problem: “Bad software quality is destroying the world.”
Considering almost half of a developer’s time is spent on correcting bugs, there’s plenty of room for improvement in software development. Codacy’s code review and optimization mechanism is important fuel to propel the entire software industry forward.
JOIN Capital is looking ahead with a finger on the pulse of Industry 4.0 and enterprise. Do you see yourself presenting at our next Portfolio Day? Drop us a line at email@example.com