Breaking the Bottleneck | Issue 02
[03/22] Reshoring, Instrumental, and Startup Database Updates
Breaking the Bottleneck is a monthly newsletter recapping the past month in manufacturing with perspectives, interviews, news, recent funding announcements, and a startup database.
One Big Thought - Reshoring and Incentives ⚡
Supply chain resilience has been top of mind for not only executives but the Department of Homeland Security given the near-continuous disruptions since the onset of COVID-19. Most recently, the War in Ukraine has disrupted trade routes, increased freight costs, made critical raw materials less accessible, and impacted nearly 560,000 US businesses derailing economic growth and adding to inflationary pressure. “Reshoring” offers an opportunity to drive resilience, balance trade & budget deficits, reduce unemployment by creating well-paying manufacturing jobs, and develop a skilled workforce. Furthermore, a TCU study highlighted that reshoring also benefits manufacturing companies by potentially reducing the total cost of their products, improving balance sheets, and increasing the speed of product innovation.
To enable this rapid shift in production various incentives need to be deployed to make the U.S. more attractive for manufacturing investment. In the past year, states have offered tax incentives with Georgia delivering a credit of as much as $4,000/ job for five years, and Florida paying grant funding to manufacturers that create 50 jobs and invest greater than $50 million in the state. The federal government has also looked to strengthen the U.S. information and communications technology (ICT) industrial base with $52 billion in government subsidies to support domestic chip manufacturing. These incentives have already resulted in private corporations such as Toyota, GM, and Samsung earmarking nearly $22.3B for greenfield production facilities at the end of 2021. For brownfield sites, the U.S. will need to improve upon their current ranking of 26th among advanced economies for R&D tax incentives to stimulate both private-sector R&D and factory digitization. Additionally, establishing more Opportunity Zones via the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 can encourage long-term investments in low-income urban and rural communities nationwide and help attract talent in an industry significantly impacted by the great resignation.
America’s recovery and renewal following COVID-19 will be a long journey with additional incentives required to further accelerate the reshoring initiative. I am excited to see both what incentives emerge to facilitate reshoring over the next few years and the corresponding impact on the development of manufacturing technology across the U.S.
Manufacturing News and Interesting Reads 🏭
Intel Acquires Tower Semiconductor for $5.4B - The all-cash deal provides Intel with greater manufacturing capacity, reach, and IP / technology enabling “Intel to offer a compelling breadth of leading-edge nodes and differentiated specialty technologies on mature nodes”.
137 New Planned Manufacturing Industrial Projects - SalesLeads, a website that tracks North American industrial activity including facility expansions, identified 17 new Industrial Manufacturing facility construction projects with an estimated value of $100+ million including Micron’s $150 billion facility in Texas.
Toyota to Invest $90M in 2 US Manufacturing Plants - The money is focused on increasing its hybrid transaxle capacity with $73 million going toward its Toyota West Virginia plant and $17 million invested in its Toyota Tennessee plant.
Connect Digital Threads with Simulation - Ansys and HBR article highlighting how integrating simulation through the digital fabric of an organization unlocks data intelligence and helps manufacturers continuously improve during changing market conditions.
Panel Discussion Predicting the Future of China's Rise - Fascinating discussion between Lawrence H. Summers, Kelly Sims Gallagher, and Keyu Jin around China’s manufacturing prowess, trade partnerships, poverty alleviation, and technological innovations.
Managing Time Series Data in IIOT- InfluxData article highlighting the challenges for incorporating time series data into operations and replacing legacy data historians with modern alternatives such as Influx DB & Telegraf.
The Factory OS - Blog post by Karan Talati of First Resonance, discussing the history of how existing manufacturing software solutions came to be, and why the modern factory OS should offer a graph of manufacturing data and interconnected traceability in a decentralized yet collaborative system.
The Rise of Robotics [Subscription Required] - Economist article highlighting the impact of robots on the workforce and their ultimate benefit to labor markets citing a Yale study on Japanese manufacturing where an increase of one robot unit per 1,000 workers boosted a company’s employment by 2.2%.
February’s Manufacturing Deals 💰
Antora - A startup electrifying heavy industry with thermal energy storage for zero-carbon heat and power
$50 million [Series N/A] - Led by Breakthrough Energy Ventures, Lowercarbon Capital and joined by Shell Ventures, BHP Ventures, Grok Ventures, Trust Ventures, Overture VC, and Impact Science Ventures
Automata - A startup focused building robotic automation solutions for lab processes and the life sciences industry
$50 million [Series B] - Led by Octopus Ventures and joined by Hummingbird, Latitude Ventures, ABB Technology Ventures, Isomer Capital, and In-Q-Tel
Emi- A startup focused on building automated hiring tools for frontline workers across distribution, production, and retail
$11 million [Series A] - Led by Merus Capital and Khosla Ventures and joined by Flexport Ventures
Factored Quality - A startup focused building a software + managed services intelligent quality control solution
$5.6 million [Seed] - Led by Amity Ventures and was joined by Dynamo Ventures, BAM Ventures, and Red Antler
Instrumental - A startup building AI-powered proactive defect discovery, real-time monitoring, and end-to-end failure analysis tools
$50 million [Series C] - Led by BAM Elevate and joined by Octopus Ventures and joined by Canaan, Root Ventures, and Eclipse Ventures
Micropsi - A startup building a robot control system that uses imitation learning to train robots through human demonstration
$30 million [Series B] - Co-Led by Metaplanet, VSquared, and Ahren Innovation Capital
Morai - A startup providing autonomous vehicle developers with automotive simulation tools to verify the safety and reliability of self-driving systems
$20 million [Series B] - Led by Korea Investment Partners and joined by KB Investment, Korea Development Bank, Naver D2 Startup Factory, Hyundai Motor Group, and Kakao Ventures
Overview - A startup designing a platform to help customers identify manufacturing defects on the production line
$10 million [Series A] - Led by Blumberg Capital and joined by GV, Momenta, and Bain Capital
Phosphorus Cybersecurity - A startup building an agentless enterprise cybersecurity platform for IoT devices
$38 million [Series A] - Led by Syn Ventures and Mass Mutual Ventures
RightHand Robotics - A startup focused on building a platform and robotic picking solution for warehouses and material handling
$66 million [Series C] - Led by Safar Partners, Thomas H. Lee Partners, and SoftBank Vision Fund 2 and joined by Menlo Ventures, Matrix Partners, and F-Prime Capital
RIOS Intelligent Machines - A startup providing factory automation-as-a-service, and deploying end-to-end AI-powered robotic work cells in factories
$28 million [Series A] - Led by Main Sequence and joined by Yamaha Motor Ventures, Orbit Venture Partners, Hypertherm Ventures
Rondo Energy - A startup developing a battery that stores wind and solar power and delivers continuous heat at high temperatures
$22 million [Series A] - Co-Led by Breakthrough Energy Ventures and Energy Impact Partners
Scrona AG - A startup focused on bringing more accurate additive manufacturing/3D printing to mass manufacturing through electrostatic ejection
$6.7 million [Series A] - Led by AM Ventures and an additional $2.6 million in grant-based funding from the Swiss Secretariat for Education, Research, and Innovation
Shift5 - A startup focused on OT cybersecurity for military platforms, transportation networks, and fleets
$50 million [Series B] - Led by Insight Partners
Siteline - A startup reimagining construction and trade contractor finance by building billing tools for contractors
$18.4 million [Series A] - Led by Menlo Ventures and joined by Brick & Mortar Ventures and First Round Capital
Wallaroo - A startup building AI model management and ML Ops platform that can plug into existing systems including for industrials use cases
$25 million [Series A] - Led by M12 and joined by Boldstart Ventures, Contour Venture Partners, Eniac Ventures, and Greycroft
Workwhile - A startup building a platform that connects the best hourly workers to shifts that fit their skills, schedules, and location
$13 million [Series A] - Led by Reach Capital and joined by Khosla Ventures, F7 Ventures, Chamaeleon, Position Ventures and Gaingels
Events This Month 📅
Additive Manufacturing Strategies 2022 between March 1-3 in New York and Virtual includes panels and keynotes on 3D printing for healthcare, bioprinting, AM in aviation and space, and compact industrial metal AM.
Design-2-Part Show Texas between March 2-3 in Arlington Texas, offers a great place to meet high-quality American suppliers of custom parts, stock parts, and manufacturing services.
Midwest Aerospace Conference 2021 on March 10 in Rockford, Illinois will highlight work that has been done to advance digital manufacturing technologies such as digital twins, artificial intelligence, augmented and virtual reality relating to manufacturing today.
AM User Day 2022 between March 10 [Virtual] will be dedicated to the AM community in the US featuring the subjects New Space, Next Level of Digital Production, Fasted Prototyping and Depowdering
Facilitating the Seamless Transition Towards Industry 4.0 - On March 22 [Virtual] is a variety of collaborative discussions and presentations providing attendees with the necessary tools to facilitate an Industry 4.0 transition.
Plastics Technology Expo 2022 between March 29-31 in Rosemont, Illinois provides the opportunity to see the newest plastics machinery, immerse yourself in free educational sessions, experience equipment demonstrations and participate in numerous networking opportunities.
Startup Database 💾
Updated monthly, below is a database of industrial and manufacturing startups
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