INVEN CAPITAL and LEAD VENTURES expand to industry 4.0, investing in a progressive Czech start-up who is a leader in acoustic diagnostics of machines
- Czech start-up Neuron soundware raised 5.75 million Euros to further expand its business activities.
- ČEZ Group and MOL Group through investment funds and Hungarian Eximbank acquired minority stake.
- INVEN CAPITAL and LEAD VENTURES strengthen their positions in CEE region start-ups environment.
INVEN CAPITAL, a ČEZ Group investment fund together with Budapest based venture capital firm LEAD VENTURES backed by MOL Group and Hungarian Eximbank have acquired a minority interest in Neuron soundware, the Czech based market leader in industrial machine diagnostics based on acoustic analysis. The company develops and markets advanced hardware and software for predictive maintenance, enabling timely detection of failures and optimization of operations. As a result of the transaction Neuron soundware raised 5.75 million Euros to further expand its business activities. The former investor, J&T Ventures also joined the current investment.
Neuron soundware was founded in February 2016 in Prague. It currently employs twenty experts and its revenues amounted to almost half-million Euro last year. It delivers smart diagnostic solutions based on the acoustic analysis of machines in several industries including the energy sector. The solution uses artificial intelligence to recognise impending mechanical problems in machines, thereby preventing breakdowns of critical manufacturing equipment.Today, systems supplied by Neuron soundware are being implemented into operations of several large global corporations, such as Daimler, BMW, innogy, E.ON, Airbus, and LG. In the energy sector, Neuron soundware has a sizable implementation with a fleet of more than 20 large combined heat and power units for several customers in the Czech Republic.
„Neuron is one of a few companies in acoustic emission analysis which is able to compete with top class Israeli and US companies. During its short existence it has developed a unique database of sounds which are used for training of its proprietary neural networks,“ says Petr Míkovec, managing director of INVEN CAPITAL.
„We are passionate about the Neuron story and the team. Predictive maintenance is a hot topic for many complex industrial systems, however, practical solutions are still hard to find. The Neuron technology could be a game changer in this space, having substantial impact on industry efficiency across several verticals,” says Abel Galacz, CEO of Lead Ventures.
“We know exactly how pumps, gearboxes, cylinders, electromotors, or compressors should sound. The sounds of all regular components of a machine are stored in a database. But that is not enough, our artificial intelligence software is able to distinguish problem noises from regular process hum and surrounding sounds, giving the customer the certainty that the machine will not pull off any unpleasant surprises,” says Pavel Konečný, founder and CEO of Neuron soundware, revealing the secrets of his know-how.
Over its more than four years in business and investing in energy start-ups, INVEN CAPITAL has acquired the reputation of a qualified and capable investor that supports start-up companies in the smart energy sector. Great management team, the portfolio of its invested companies, the fund’s performance, and successful due diligence were behind the decision of the European Investment Bank (EIB) to form a joint investment structure with INVEN CAPITAL, in which EIB undertook to entrust EUR 50 million in INVEN CAPITAL’s management.
Lead Ventures, a Budapest-based venture capital firm, invests via its Enter Tomorrow Europe fund backed by MOL Group and Hungarian Eximbank. With EUR 100 million under its management Lead Ventures is actively seeking scale-up investment opportunities in the CEE region with unique stories having outstanding growth potential and global reach.
Neuron soundware is now focusing on scalability of successful use cases and deployment of pre-trained AI algorithms to monitor large quantities of machines like engines, compressors, pumps, turbines, robots etc. This strategy is supported by provision of easy-to-implement monitoring solution that can be up and running in just weeks and financed via an affordable monthly fee charged per machine, i.e., solution as a service. To maintain the international expansion, Neuron soundware is now hiring for a number of new positions for its Prague main office and it also expects the need for building sales and support business unit in Germany to serve better local major clients like Airbus, BMW or Siemens. Besides direct sales, Neuron soundware will continue to build its partnership network, in Europe, but also in the Middle East and Asia. Mainly due to Brexit, Neuron soundware has recently established a new business entity NeuronSW SE, headquartered in Prague, the Czech Republic, which will take over all business activities and liabilities and eventually fuse with the current major entity Neuron SW Ltd., headquartered in London, United Kingdom.
CEZ GROUP https://www.cez.cz
MOL GROUP https://molgroup.info
INVEN CAPITAL http://www.invencapital.cz
LEAD VENTURES http://leadventures.eu
NEURON SOUNDWARE https://www.neuronsw.com
Contact for media:
CEZ GROUP/INVEN CAPITAL firstname.lastname@example.org
MOL GROUP/LEAD VENTURES email@example.com ǀ firstname.lastname@example.org
NEURON SOUNDWARE email@example.com
Hannover / Prague, 07 March 2019: The “machine whisperers” from Neuron soundware are back in time for Hannover Messe with three new products that they will be presenting at the world’s most important industrial fair. After Neuron soundware presented its own AI-based sound detection system for machine maintenance and problems for the first time last year, their second generation of devices along with two new products will be launched this year.
nBox – the second generation of IoT hardware understands machines even better
Neuron soundware builds and trains AI software that understands audio signals. Based on this technology, the company offers its industrial customers a smart detection system that detects anomalies and known problems in machines and systems at an early stage and sounds the alarm if necessary. For this purpose, the start-up company from Prague uses acoustic sensors that collect even the smallest noise data and evaluate them almost in real time. The algorithms for this can be integrated directly into the respective IoT systems or work externally in the cloud. By using this technology, industrial customers can continuously monitor their machines and motors from a distance. The second generation of nBox, which has now been released, now uses even more (a total of 12) channels for simultaneous recording. CPU and GPU improvements have significantly increased the nBox’s computing power – the algorithms on the device run smoother as a result. In addition, the second generation of the nBox is smaller, lighter and cheaper.
With capacity for even more accurate measurement, the system significantly reduces maintenance and repair costs by detecting problems earlier and more accurately than ever before. Total failure or quality and performance problems with systems and motors can thus be prevented in good time. The technology is suitable for a wide range of industries and is already used for monitoring of engines, compressors, pumps, turbines, robots and other similar machines or equipment.
nCard – mobile audio recording simplifies measurements
New on the market is Neuron soundware’s solution for predictive maintenance recordings on the move. The system, called the “nCard”, consists of an individually designed and shielded sound card that connects to the Android smartphone application and allows high-quality audio recordings to be made anytime, anywhere. The handy and lightweight pocket-sized device is equipped with an analog-to-digital converter (ADC) with a 2-channel recording function (2 microphone/piezo sensors). This makes it possible to monitor machines and systems even in difficult or unusual real-life scenarios. In this context Neuron soundware will soon be launching a pilot project in which the nCard will be used to collect data from industrial robots. Maintenance technicians will then use an AI algorithm to assess the condition of their robots and plan their maintenance or avoid unexpected failures.
Predictive maintenance of CHP units with new tailored algorithms
The third Neuron soundware innovation is aimed specifically at the owners and operators of combined heat and power (CHP) units. The plants working with the principle of the power-heat coupling are maintenance-intensive and a unit failure or premature wear is not only annoying, but above all expensive. Repair costs and lost production time quickly exceed several hundred euros per hour. Neuron soundwares’ new CHP solution therefore offers sensors and algorithms specially tailored to these requirements. The system monitors various components of the CHP to detect anomalies or known problems such as overheating, roller knocking, exhaust pipe damage or engine screw loosening. The maintenance team is usually notified automatically by SMS or email hours or days before problems could occur. In addition to reducing repair and downtime costs, this predictive maintenance of CHPs also has ecological aspects: “Healthy” systems generally consume less gas and fuel and have a longer service life.
“I recommend all representatives of manufacturing corporations that seek tech innovations, or perhaps faced troubles to innovate their operations in the past, to stop by at our stand, get inspired by our success stories and identify ways of where and how we could collaborate together”, explains CEO Pavel Konecny his plans for Neuron soundware at the industrial fair.
Media representatives and interested parties are cordially invited to visit the Neuron soundware founders and their innovations on site in Hannover. Neuron soundware receives visitors on all trade fair days in hall 13 at booth D10/1.
About Neuron soundware:
Neuron soundware develops a detection system that discovers machine problems in real time. By recording noise data via sensors and the subsequent automatic evaluation, damage and abrasion are detected close to real time and machine or production breakdowns are prevented. The technology is suitable for use with car engines, wind turbines, point machines and other machines and systems. Neuron soundware was named “Idea of the Year 2016” for this combination of Artificial Intelligence (Neuron soundware’s AI software) and IoT (the external IoT systems and acoustic sensors used). Founded 2016 by Pavel Konečný and Pavel Klinger in Prague the company received EUR 600,000 in financing by J & T Ventures in 2017. Neuron soundware was classified as a 2018 “Cool Vendor in Acoustic Technologies for Predictive Maintenance” by Gartner. Neuron soundware is proud to work with clients such as Airbus, Siemens, BMW, Skoda, MVV Energie, Bosch, LG, Volkswagen or Mercedes-Benz.
- The startup, which recognizes machine problems by their sound, prevailed among 75 applicants
- The 6-week startup program will be concluded with a demo day on July 5 at SAP headquarters in Walldorf – representatives of the press are cordially invited
Prague/Walldorf/Berlin, 27 June 2018: Neuron soundware (http://neuronsw.com), supplier and developer of a system that detects malfunctions of machines, has been selected for the recently launched SAP Industry 4.0 Startup program. Neuron soundware is one of the five participants in the program selected out of a total of 75 applicants.
The SAP Industry 4.0 Startup program was officially launched on May 28 at the Data Space Berlin, SAP’s new innovation location. Since then, the five appointed teams have been working with SAP on their product and go-to-market strategies. For the new program, SAP.io Berlin Foundry and SAP IoT Startup Accelerator are working together with startups to offer an innovative Industry 4.0 offering. SAP’s collaboration with the startups is designed to add long-term value to customers’ existing and planned SAP solutions. In addition, startups gain access to SAP technologies and mentorship from the SAP innovation ecosystem.
“SAP is a leading enterprise software company serving a broad range of industrial customers. Many of our current and future customers have been using SAP systems and a smooth integration will allow the customers to keep using their existing systems, while enriched by the valuable insight provided by Neuron soundware,” explains Neuron soundware co-founder and CEO Pavel Konečný. “Neuron soundware is at the start of a journey towards deploying millions of intelligent industrial IoT devices that would be monitoring key industrial assets. Infrastructure digitalization is one of the key aspects of Industry 4.0 concept and thus, we see many synergies between our solution and the SAP Industry 4.0 programme.”
The six-week Industry 4.0 Sstartup program will be concluded in a demo day on July 5th at the SAP headquarters in Walldorf. On this day, the five startups will present not only their technology but also their learnings to the public. The startups are going to pitch in front of an assembled audience from 2:30 p.m. onwards and then answer any questions visitors may have in an open networking session afterwards. Representatives of the press are cordially invited and can register here.
About Neuron soundware
Neuron soundware develops a detection system that discovers machine problems. By recording noise data via sensors and the subsequent automatic evaluation, damage and abrasion are detected close to real time and as such machine or production breakdowns are prevented. The technology is suitable for use with engines, wind turbines, point machines and other machines and systems. Neuron soundware was named “Idea of the Year 2016” for this combination of Artificial Intelligence (Neuron soundware’s AI software) and IoT (the external IoT systems and acoustic sensors used). Founded 2016 by Pavel Konečný and Pavel Klinger in Prague the company received EUR 600,000 in financing by J & T Ventures in 2017.
The Gartner report identifies “Cool Vendors” in key technologies, recognizing innovative vendors, their products and services.
Prague, May 8th 2018: Neuron soundware was recognized in the April 2018 Gartner Cool Vendors Report for Acoustic Technologies for Predictive Maintenance. The analyst of the report is Nathan Nuttall Research Director in the Gartner IoT Group.
The independent report from leading research and consulting firm Gartner evaluates suppliers and their products and services. Neuron soundware’s technology supports predictive maintenance and servicing of machinery, motors and equipment. The software analyzes recorded audio signals to identify malfunctions in mechanical systems.
The NeuronBox IoT device is a standalone edge computing device that is installed next to a machine to be monitored. It has acoustic sensors, a sound card and an amplifier that can record up to six audio channels simultaneously. Audio is preprocessed and denoted locally, file formats are converted, and then the data is transferred to the cloud via LAN, Wi-Fi, or Long Term Evolution (LTE) (or stored on a microSD card). Using machine-learning models trained to understand audio, the data is analyzed in the cloud and the results are delivered to customers via a customizable dashboard. Being standalone, the NeuronBox can monitor multiple machines simultaneously, unlike other acoustic measurement products that need to be mounted on or integrated with individual machines. The Neuron soundware technology is especially interesting for large companies, which have a corresponding number of complex mechanical systems. For them, to “sensorize” those assets may be worthwhile to optimize their predictive maintenance.
Neuron soundware co-founder and CEO Pavel Konečný is proud of the recognition: “We are delighted to be listed as Cool Vendor in the Gartner Cool Vendors Report. This further motivates us in our vision to create a standardized AI platform optimized for audio diagnostics of machines in every industry. ”
Gartner does not endorse any vendor, product or service depicted in its research publications, and does not advise technology users to select only those vendors with the highest ratings or other designation. Gartner research publications consist of the opinions of Gartner’s research organization and should not be construed as statements of fact. Gartner disclaims all warranties, expressed or implied, with respect to its research, including any warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose.
About Neuron soundware:
Neuron soundware develops a detection system that discovers machine problems in real time. By recording noise data via sensors and the subsequent automatic evaluation, damage and abrasion are detected close to real time and machine or production breakdowns are prevented. The technology is suitable for use with car engines, wind turbines, point machines and other machines and systems. Neuron soundware was named “Idea of the Year 2016” for this combination of Artificial Intelligence (Neuron soundware’s AI software) and IoT (the external IoT systems and acoustic sensors used). Founded 2016 by Pavel Konečný and Pavel Klinger in Prague the company received EUR 600,000 in financing by J & T Ventures in 2017.