It has been an outstanding first year for Inspekto and its Autonomous Machine Vision System. With fresh investment and a blue-chip client list, Inspekto is preparing for more growth in 2020.
Harel Boren, CEO and co-founder of Inspekto, reflects on the past year and what the future holds in this MVPro Machine Vision & Automation exclusive.
The global impact of Inspekto’s Autonomous Machine Vision system has ensured the company moves into its second year with renewed vigour.
A fresh wave of investment to the tune of $15 million ensures that this Israeli/German start-up will continue its upward trend in 2020.
The new investment is a mix of current and new investors including Germany-based Future Fund, Grazia Equity, Mahle, Steinbeis, plus South Korean industrial tech investor ACE Equity.
It is less than a year since the company showcased the Inspekto S70, but one in which it has truly made its mark having won awards, secured an enviable list of blue-chip clients and made significant developments across the business to continue its global expansion.
Inspekto CEO and co-founder Harel Boren (pictured), an experienced technology and start-up entrepreneur, has welcomed the fresh round of cash.
The investment from South Korea is certainly significant as it has the potential for the business to exploit new commercial opportunities in the Far East. As he succinctly put it: “The $15m is going to be used in furthering our main objectives of enhancement and developing and enables us to scale up sales in specific geographic areas.”
Inspekto has been one of the major success stories of the year since it came to worldwide attention at Vision 2018 in Stuttgart last November.
The industry and press were taken by Inspekto’s Plug & Inspect™ technology and how it would change how quality assurance (QA) was being done. It has allowed employees in manufacturing facilities to take the Autonomous Machine Vision system out of the box and install it in minutes, without any help from a systems integrator and without the long process associated with setting up QA inspection solutions.
A simple solution using ‘game-changing’ technology borne from a management team that packs more than 100 years of experience.
With the first anniversary looming, Boren has reviewed Inspekto’s successful first year.
Rewinding 12 months when Stuttgart and Vision 2018 was on the horizon, Inspekto took a deliberate softer approach, while some companies, especially start-ups, gasp for the oxygen of publicity. The intentions were always to ‘shy away from the hot air of PR’ is how Boren explains the build up to Stuttgart.
“The product was in beta stage going into Vision 2018 and the aim was to make the hit at the show. We wanted to deliver by stealth and surprise – and that succeeded. We received very good reviews from the media with more than 200 clippings or mentions from all over the world, including Japan. Since Stuttgart, we have had a purposeful marketing and PR plan and that has also reaped rewards.
“More success followed as the Inspekto S70 (pictured left) won the Innovator’s Gold Award at one of the industry’s major events. To be judged by the machine vision industry in this way made us very happy.
“We were also shortlisted for a PR award in the UK. We had come a long way from launch to winning awards in just six months, so the product did resonate with the market.
“We were a tech start up with just those few months behind us, but this publicity gave us worldwide attention. My management team and I share more than 100 years in the industry and it can take two, three, four years to get that level of attraction, if ever.”
This has enabled Inspekto to also get a firm footing on the global stage.
“We are working with some very well-known names,” said Boren.
“Our active pipeline comprises 32 global firms who have a combined total of 2,669 plants all over the world.
“We are not in every one of those plants, but we are with those global firms, which means we can only see a bright future. There is the potential for greater volume.
“We are talking about world leaders in their fields such as Bosch and MAHLE, leaders in automotive manufacturing.
“We also work with BSH, the largest home appliance manufacturer, Geberit, a leader in sanitary products, PepsiCo, Schneider Electric and Daimler.
“These are big players and the lesson for machine vision is that this is a very big industry and the issue of inspection is much larger than we think.”
To ensure Inspekto can rise to the challenge, explore new markets and deliver enhanced but simple frictionless solutions to machine vision quality assessment, the company has added new European headquarters at Heilbronn, in the Baden-Wurttemberg region, which also has Stuttgart and Karlsruhe in its domain.
“This HQ is significant in our development, as it holds large portions of Germany’s manufacturing, including 52 percent of the world’s automotive industry, and thousands of factory plants. Having this concentration of industry will help us in with our innovation,” explained Boren.
“To achieve this, we have established training and support at Heilbronn, and we have moved some assembly, which is another reason why it is a key location for us.
“Europe we saw as a prime market, but we have gone beyond those borders with a presence in North America, while our product has also been installed in Thailand, Turkey and Mexico. It was not something we had envisaged, but working with global firms, they have quality control and assurance issues wherever they have a plant.”
The Inspekto S70, which was developed using Blue Ocean thinking and strategies, has brought a new dimension to machine vision with its plug and play operation and has shown the industry that there are operational challenges that can be overcome and one Inspekto aims to capitalise on.
“Machine vision has had too many complicated solutions, one which needed experts to install them,” said Boren.
“We are addressing the machine vision quality assurance 100 per cent. Plug and play for machine vision had not been thought of as possible but it is possible. You can have a system up and running with no integration costs within an hour.
“Our vision now, with this simple solution for an independent and frictionless system is to cross tiers, industries and geographies.
“The space is very large but unquestionably we are able to satisfy that need.”
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