Founded in Cape Town, South Africa in 2014, DataProphet is a leader in artificial intelligence (AI) that enables manufacturers to step towards autonomous manufacturing. Their AI-as-a-service, DataProphet PRESCRIBE, proactively prescribes changes to plant control plans to continuously optimize production without the expert human analysis that is typically required. The company has now raised a $6 million Series-A funding round with Knife Capital following on, joined by the Industrial Development Corporation of South Africa (IDC) and Norican Group, a leading foundry engineering and equipment company.
The funding will be used to strengthen the operational footprint of DataProphet internationally and fast-track the strategy of growing through and with their strategic partners across geographies and industry verticals. Earlier this year a partnership between Norican and DataProphet was announced to accelerate the adoption of AI in the foundry industry. The partnership followed a number of joint innovation projects carried out with Norican brand DISA, one of the leading suppliers of green sand foundry technology.
DataProphet has been recognised by numerous forums including the World Economic Forum as a Technology Pioneer in 2019, and CBInsights as 1 of the Top 100 AI Startups globally. Two years ago, DataProphet received venture capital funding from Knife Capital to boost its innovation capabilities.
Anders Wilhjelm, CEO of Norican Group, says, “Applying AI to the foundry industry will reduce energy consumption, increase yield and reduce waste. What started as a commercial cooperation with DataProphet, developed into a partnership, and now we will also become a shareholder. We know foundries and how they work, DataProphet really knows AI, so we are truly excited about what DataProphet and we can achieve together.” He noted that Norican is in the process of rolling out the DataProphet applications to their full brand portfolio.
As manufacturers become more familiar with the value AI can create for them – they realise they must be careful to ensure they are not simply using AI for analytics, substituting scarce Process Engineers with even scarcer Data Scientists. Rather, to realise the full value of AI, they need to consider how AI can play into their smart factory plans. These technologies are key to achieving the goals of Industry 4.0 and allowing manufacturing plants to be far more responsive to the market demands without incurring additional costs.
Frans Cronje, CEO and Co-Founder of DataProphet, says, “South Africa will remain our engineering and operational hub as we have access to great talent. DataProphet however, is an international business, with hubs located around the world. This funding round will enable DataProphet to develop locally located sales and support for customers and partners across the world. Supporting Manufacturers on their journey to augment the plant operators with clear holistic instruction from their data without building increased dependence on limited experts is a strategic rationale that has been reinforced by the effects of COVID-19. Through the application of our technology, each and every one of our clients has reduced non-quality products by more than 50%.”
Christo Fourie, Head of New Industries at the IDC, said, “At the core of the future state of Industry 4.0 is the capacity to collect, process and use data to improve the speed and quality of operational decision-making. Combining the AI capabilities of DataProphet with the vast number of manufacturers the IDC has funded and have access to, could fast-track the company’s growth while also extracting efficiencies from within our current investment portfolio.”
Andrea Bӧhmert, Managing Partner at Knife Capital, comments, ”We are excited to continue to support DataProphet in this funding round. Since our initial investment in 2018, DataProphet has emerged as a global thought leader in its field and as such is a prime example of the kind of cutting edge technologies South African entrepreneurs are capable of developing with global relevance in a fast-growing market. The expansion capital allows DataProphet to prove out their offering on a global stage.”