When thinking about supply chains, what naturally comes to people’s minds is traditional logistics processes like freight forwarding and transportation of goods. While this truly is an essential part of supply chain management, there is also a non-obvious part to the flow of goods, namely production capacity and the timing of production cycles.
Data science bears great potential for increasing the resilience of production processes with predictive maintenance and all kinds of machine learning use cases in factories. However, what is still keeping these approaches from role-outs at scale is the heterogeneity of OT data on the shop floors themselves. This can be solved on a case by case basis with system integration projects, however can be costly, inflexible and most importantly not scalable. What is needed to roll out data science use cases at scale is a data harmonization layer that easily and flexibly makes all kinds of data available independent of its origin and format. That is where i-flow kicks in.
i-flow provides a data harmonization solution making data from warehouses, machines, sensors and any other OT source easily accessible for IT like ERP systems or AI tools.
Here’s why we invested:
- Team: The entire team, previously working at Bosch Rexroth, combines a variety of skills and interests. Daniel, a former senior project manager for industry 4.0 and IIoT digitization projects at Bosch Rexroth. Christoph, a former connected industries specialist at Bosch Rexroth as well who then founded his own marketing agency. Timo, a software development and data analytics expert who gained experience inside and outside Bosch. This unique ensemble of domain knowledge and complementary founder qualities checked all our boxes for pre-seed teams.
- Market: Even today, the IIoT market is gigantic and growing with an estimated volume >200bn USD, not even taking into consideration the new markets that are created just through the role out of IIoT like industrial AI. Not too far in the future all shop floor machinery in any factory and warehouse will be connected. The number of sensors deployed is constantly increasing and the more data is generated in different formats the bigger the need for solutions like i-flow. We strongly believe that i-flow is in possession of one of the gatekeeper technologies for an even more rapid growth of connected manufacturing.
- Problem-Solution: The idea was born out of a practical issue the founders encountered through their former jobs. i-flow’s software does not only solve this problem but offers a solid value proposition to its customers who save up to 80% of their time and data science capacity upon the implementation of industry 4.0 projects.
- Future of supply chain: By providing an enabling technology for smart factories and more predictability for production processes, i-flow makes a significant contribution to more resilient value chains. Resilience that comes in the form of predictability and enabling supply chain actors to make use of the data collected additionally supports the visibility of processes. i-flow checks not only one but two of the four boxes for future proof supply chains that are resilience, transparency, sustainability and circularity.
We at Prequel Ventures have been more than happy to join the likes of Techstars, Yarrow Capital, Uwe Andreas Kraemer and Taras Chaban for i-flow’s pre-seed round earlier this year.