From our most recent Quarterly Investment Monitor data, the Industrial & Manufacturing industry group continues to attract a considerable amount of investments in the first quarter of 2018, capturing 17% of the total deal volume in cleantech innovation. Total deal volume and dollar amount in the first quarter dropped following the spike at the end of 2017; nevertheless, overall investment trend still shows an ever increasing deal activity in this industry group.
The Industrial & Manufacturing industry group encompasses a wide range of technological innovations, in areas such as wireless connectivity, 3D printing, software platforms, and robotics. Unlike traditional clean technologies that are sector-specific (think solar, wind, recycling), this new wave of innovators is cross-sector in nature, where the core technology can have applications across many sectors, including manufacturing in this case.
To illustrate the various innovations that are attracting venture funding within the Industrial & Manufacturing industry group, let’s look at some recent funding activities across the advanced manufacturing value chain. Note that these company examples are not exhaustive and are meant to highlight recent investment activities.
As the chart shows above, there are multiple business activities across this simplified value chain. The baseline towards advanced manufacturing, which we call Connectivity, is to bring the entire factory online, using new technologies such as machine-to-machine and wireless technologies. Data then becomes the next key business activity in capturing and analyzing operation data in order to identify irregularities. Automation is the next value-add component in advanced manufacturing, where the combination of hardware and software begin to replace tasks that were previously done by human. For example, artificial intelligence software is being developed to provide intelligent control of robotic tools in the manufacturing process. Finally, application development goes in parallel with software, where specific use cases are being developed, for instance, in cyber security and preventive maintenance.
To learn more about the latest innovations in advanced manufacturing, join us at the next series of our Power Breakfast event on May 23rd in San Francisco.