Chicago, IL, March 2022—Amper, a Chicago-based tech startup that helps manufacturers modernize their operations, has successfully closed an $11M Series A funding round led by Lewis & Clark Ventures, with participation from Foundation Capital, Corazon Capital, Slow Ventures, SOSV, Converge VC and GTMfund. The company will use the financing to expand Amper’s IoT and software tools, with the goal of becoming the leading Factory Operating System for manufacturers.
"Traditional ways of digitizing a factory are complicated and expensive,” says Amper CEO Akshat Thirani, “especially since typical manufacturers have machines of all different ages and models. That’s why the vast majority of them are still operating offline—relying on inaccurate, manually-collected data to make incredibly-important, time-sensitive decisions.”
Additionally, today’s manufacturers are facing unprecedented challenges: from the skilled labor shortage and the pandemic, to inflation and an ever-demanding and volatile supply chain.
“The reality is, manufacturers will continue to face these problems, which is why the need for more efficient and proactive operations have never been more urgent,” Thirani says, “the only way manufacturers can get ahead is by leveraging data.”
Thirani, a fourth-generation manufacturer who grew up immersed in the family business, used his deep connection to the industry as inspiration for founding Amper in 2016, in partnership with Amper CTO and Co-founder Philip House.
Together, Thirani and House participated in HAX in 2017-–a program built for pre-seed startups in the hardware tech space. During the program, they developed a unique way to collect operational data from machines with an IoT device that can be easily installed in only 10 minutes.
This self-deployed IoT technology laid the foundation for Amper’s current strategy: to let manufacturers try their product for free–like any other product-led SaaS model. Amper’s IoT technology is able to provide real-time data on operations from almost any kind of industrial machine, enabling automated and accurate data collection without the hassle of traditional machine integration.
“We want to consumerize the IoT and industrial software market by making the purchase, installation, and implementation of our solution easy to try and use. This allows manufacturers of all sizes to join the digital revolution with minimal upheaval to the factory floor,” says House.
Amper customer, Nick Sainati of Belden Universal adds, “Many of the solutions we looked at required us to shut down production of a machine for several hours or even days to facilitate the required integration. We had Amper up and running on all of our machines after one day—with no need to stop production.”
Since implementing a free trial program of its operating system, Amper has experienced exponential growth and is deployed on thousands of machines across the globe.
“By doubling down on our product-led growth strategy, we hope to get Amper into as many factories as possible,” says Thirani.
Brian Hopcraft, of lead investor Lewis & Clark Ventures, adds, “Customers can try the solution at no cost, and set it up themselves in no time. They see the value and the impact on their business immediately. This product-led approach is unique in manufacturing and has been a key driver of Amper’s success.”
He continues, “We invested in Amper based on their passionate customer base and the huge unprecedented opportunity they have to establish the source of truth for factory operating data. Technology adoption in manufacturing has historically lagged other industries. Amper changes that and ushers in a new era of real-time operational data.”
Amper’s goal is to prove that industry 4.0 can be a reality for any manufacturer—no matter how big, small, old or new—or what machinery it uses.
“We want manufacturers to unlock their potential and thrive,” says Thirani, “and in the process, for Amper to become the industry’s operating system of choice.”
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