MakinaRocks Series A: South Korean AI Industrial Solutions Startup Bags US$10M

MakinaRocks will use the latest investment to expand its portfolio and develop a SaaS platform to attract domestic and international customers

Seoul and Silicon Valley-based industrial AI solutions startup MakinaRocks has raised US$10 million in a Series A round of financing, the startup announced in a statement yesterday.

Strategic investors LG Technology Ventures, Hyundai Motors, and Applied Ventures LLC, and financial investors Korea Development Bank, Daesung Venture Capital, Shinhan Investment Corporation, and HB Investment participated in the round, according to the statement.

MakinaRocks will use the fresh funds to expand its portfolio and develop a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) platform built on the existing on-premise solutions to secure domestic and international customers, according to the press release.

The company is also actively hiring skilled individuals in data analysis, AI development, and business development, the statement noted.

The startup had previously raised seed funding of $1.5 million from SK Telecom, Hyundai Motors, and South Korean search engine operator Naver Corporation in May 2018, and the current round brings MakinaRocks’ total investment to $11.5 million, according to Crunchbase data.

Founded in 2017 by Andre S. Yoon, Jaehyuk Lee, Yongsub Lim, and Sangwoo Shim, MakinaRocks spun off from SK Telecom’s ICT R&D Center in 2018.

MakinaRocks specializes in industrial AI with a primary focus on providing intelligent control for anomaly detection in manufacturing equipment and improved product quality. The startup aims to increase industrial efficiency with machine learning (ML) solutions that can detect hidden patterns in data, according to its website.

The startup’s competitive advantage lies in its ability to solve complex manufacturing problems in industries such as semiconductor, automotive, battery, and pharmaceuticals, the statement noted.

The company has established a partnership with Applied Materials, the world’s top semiconductor equipment manufacturer, to provide Machine Learning (ML) solutions for equipments used in semiconductor fabrication, according to the press release.

The startup’s Anomaly Detection Suite is used to predict remaining time to failure of semiconductor processing equipments, detect breakdowns of industrial robots in assembly lines ahead of time, and assess the health status of batteries in Energy Storage System (ESS) and detect precursors to negative incidents that can deteriorate the safety and reliability of renewable power supply, according to the startup’s website.

Detecting anomalies and breakdowns in advance helps reduce unplanned downtime, and minimizes losses from downtimes and excessive maintenance costs, the startup claims.

The Anomaly Detection Suite provides over 90% accurate time-to-failure prediction in semiconductor processing, and can detect robot failures in assembly lines 5 days in advance, according to the website.

MakinaRocks’ website also claims that its Intelligent Control Suite leverages ML to develop automation models for microbial fermentation which can result in manpower savings of 33%, improve wheel alignment quality in the car manufacturing process by 50% and save adjustment time by 35%, and to develop energy-efficient control systems in EMS (Energy Management Systems) that can save up to 20% energy.

Co-CEOs of MakinaRocks Yoon and Lee said, “Our innovative technology tailored to solve complex manufacturing challenges enables our customers to grow and compete globally. The unique potential of MakinaRocks has attracted some of the largest companies to invest in us.”

Anand Kamannavar, Global Head of Applied Ventures said, “We believe artificial intelligence and machine learning will transform the way semiconductor, display, and other high-end factories operate, redefining the concept for manufacturing including process optimization and maintenance.”

“Through this investment in MakinaRocks, we are excited to help accelerate the adoption of Industry 4.0 technologies for multiple industries,” he added.

Header image courtesy of MakinaRocks

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