There are hundreds of blog posts on what industry 4.0 actually is, on the essence of the fourth industrial revolution which is bound to fundamentally transform industrial value chains on a global scale. Often the element of connectivity is included: extending internet-like connectivity to shopfloor systems and industrial process chains leads to new levels of data/information/knowledge flow, augmenting our ability of production and industrial value creation.
Connectivity in this sense can obviously be characterized along a continuum. And although the current status quo is more advanced than “not connected”, it is also far away from everything and everyone being fully connected. One specific situation with missing links of connectivity is multi-machine handling in the automotive industry where a shopfloor employee supervises multiple machines at the same time. Current solutions (such as traffic light systems) are not solving the problem and lead to stress and information overload for the employee, resulting in a lagged response once a machine failure occurs and ultimately, losses of tens of thousands in revenue.
Connectivity as value generation
This is one major reason why we invested in Aucobo. Multi-machine handling is one of the use cases where their software alleviates the current inefficiencies, easing the life of the human workforce on the shopfloor. The system sits in the back-end and builds a connection between the large range of shopfloor machines and an industrial smartwatch (or any other sort of industrial wearable). Any machine alert is then directly communicated to the wrist of the respective employee, leading to faster response but also eliminating stress through automating the task of “constant monitoring”. Moreover, it enables stronger self-coordination between specialists on the shopfloor by forwarding or assigning tasks and provides additional functionality for intra-logistics and maintenance tasks.
Although value proposition and customer ROI is crystal clear, what fascinated us most was the absolutely outstanding feedback we got from current customers (mostly in the automotive industry but also beyond). From a B2B investor’s perspective it can sometimes be hard to judge whether the solution makes sense for the targeted customer, even if the value proposition seems to have a strong impact. After all, industrial customers have hundreds of digitalization opportunities which compete with the startup’s solution. However, in the case of Aucobo and multi-machine handling, the situation is quite clear: the pain point is absolutely imminent and the solution solves the situation in a way which substantially increases employer happiness with a substantial ROI and impact on P&L. Throughout our reference calls real enthusiasm for the solution shone through, evidenced also by word-of-mouth inside a large automotive OEM, where a manager was so convinced of the realized impact that he championed the product internally and got it introduced on other plants as well. Product-market fit is an elusive concept but becomes very clear once you see an exceptionally strong market pull.
Team as one of many compelling factors
- Backed up by years of experience at Industry 4.0 centers of Fraunhofer and at Festo, Michael and Benjamin have a clear understanding of these particular pain points on the shopfloor. Both have a strong vision for their solution and company and were able to form a highly capable team.
- Other convincing facts include independence of wearable type and operating system which brings the possibility to integrate any new development and hence, even more freedom to solve the particular pain point in the best possible way.
- An end-to-end solution providing hardware and software and extremely fast integration, evidenced by a 50% reduction in on-boarding time in case of the mentioned automotive OEM (compared to other software suppliers), contribute further to customer satisfaction.
Lastly but equally important, we see strong opportunities to contribute to the next level of company development by
- firstly, providing operational support in talent acquisition (Speedinvest Heroes), alleviating the associated resource-consuming ground work in a very challenging area and giving the team more resources to focus on their core business.
- Secondly, growth marketing by Speedinvest Pirates is a key area of support, helping to further improve LTV and CAC and eventually materializing the massive opportunity.
- Furthermore, Aucobo fits perfectly with our industrial tech platform, sharing in the pooled resources such as specific knowledge exchange (think challenging areas such as overcoming long sales cycles), contacts sharing and introductions as well as pooling other resources where our industrial tech platform brings value to the individual company.
We are excited to be able to accompany Aucobo on their journey to augment the industrial shopfloor to new levels of connectivity, easing the lives of thousands of employees and contributing to new levels of industrial value generation.