Factory Video Analytics Company Drishti Closes $25 Million In Funding

By Amit Chowdhry ● June 18, 2020
  • Factory video analytics company Drishti Technologies announced it raised $25 million in Series B funding

Drishti Technologies, a factory video analytics company, announced it raised $25 million in Series B funding. This round of funding was led by Sozo Ventures and included participation from Alpha Intelligence Capital, Toyota AI Ventures, Micron Ventures, Presidio Ventures, HELLA Ventures, and existing investors Emergence Capital, Benhamou Global Ventures and Andreessen Horowitz.

The funding round was raised upon evidence that Drishti’s AI-powered video analytics, data, and insights was bringing significant benefits to manufacturers and the people they employ on the factory floor. In connection with the funding round, Uday Sandhu from Alpha Intelligence Capital has joined Drishti’s board of directors.

Investors have been seeing Drishti as a clear and pervasive industry problem for global automotive and electronics manufacturers. And the lack of data on manual processes that hinders decision-making.

Drishti is known for addressing this problem by providing a new dataset on manual tasks that drives business insights thus empowering people in assembly processes and driving a new era of manufacturing — which is AI-powered production.

Manufacturers have been relying on the century-old time-and-motion study practice for measuring manual processes. And this methodology is suitable for incremental improvements, but today’s manufacturers need to exponentially accelerate the speed at which they reduce costs, improve quality, train people, and introduce new products.

Discrete manufacturers like DENSO, Flex, Ford, Nissan, etc. that embrace lean production methods are working with Drishti for gaining efficiencies and infuse resiliency into their workforces and supply chains. And Drishti’s impact is felt across the entire plant ecosystem, ranging from line associates to indirect labor to the front office.

Drishti’s technology is particularly beneficial as manufacturers reestablish production amidst the impacts of COVID-19. While remote access was a growing trend prior to coronavirus, the pandemic has accelerated its importance. And so Drishti allows indirect labor to access the line remotely thus reducing crowding around line associates to protect their health.

Drishti’s training tools utilize AI, video, and best practices reinforcement to train new employees, cross-train existing employees and identify what it considers “brilliant outliers” — creative line associates who excel in certain roles or develop new ways to improve standardized work. And employees tend to embrace Drishti due to its direct benefit to workers on the line.

Drishti’s Series B funding round will fuel its expansion into plants across North America and around the globe, including Japan.

Key Quotes:

“We’ve seen the massive impact our technology can have in driving significant improvements in critical business areas. We have a vision of people and technology, human and machine, working in concert to the benefit of everyone in the organization, especially the people working on the line. This investment is the next step toward the era of AI-powered production.”

– Prasad Akella, founder and CEO of Drishti

“This volume and quality of data is valuable as Toyota embraces AI-powered production for a data-driven world. We see Drishti’s technology as a way to help everyone in the factory — including the line associates themselves — identify opportunities to improve performance and create greater value.”

– Akiharu Engo, department general manager at Toyota — which is evaluating Drishti’s technology at manufacturing plants in North America

“Most manufacturers lack meaningful data about manual assembly processes, because human actions are very difficult to measure. Drishti uses computer vision and AI to create continuous streams of data from video of manual actions.”

– Jim Adler, managing director at Toyota AI Ventures

“This is a segment of manufacturing that seems ripe for innovation, so long relying on humans to gather data and do analysis on a largely manual basis. When a manufacturer is trying to implement continuous improvement, it can get significant leverage using technologies such as computer vision and analytics versus people observing in person and then making changes.”

– Nick Patience, lead analyst for AI and machine learning at 451 Research (part of S&P Global Market Intelligence)

“There is particular demand for Drishti’s technology in automotive, where the winners in a crowded industry will have low error rates and a steady supply of new products, and throughout the manufacturing world. Drishti provides rich data quickly to drive insights and allow automakers and suppliers to make better decisions faster. These implications reach far beyond the automotive world into broader manufacturing, as well.”

– Uday Sandhu, partner at Alpha Intelligence Capital

“At Flex, we have used Drishti to feed data back to our remote business operations center of excellence, where the industrial and lean engineers can analyze footage and solve problems without adding congestion to the floor. In addition to providing valuable training and process optimization benefits, Drishti makes it easier for us to monitor operations remotely, search for key operation steps where quality issues are of concern, and it can also be used in parallel to assist in protecting employees during unique times such as COVID-19.”

– Mike Doiron, chief technology officer of global operations at Flex

“The macroeconomic developments of 2018-19 already required steep increases in productivity and efficiency to ensure long-term success in the automotive industry. COVID-19 only accelerated this motion. We at HELLA Ventures see significant value in combining Drishti’s best-in-class AI-based manufacturing productivity technology with HELLA’s 121 years of manufacturing excellence on a global scale.”

– Marco Marinucci, partner & head of HELLA Ventures

“At Emergence, we promote the idea of coaching networks, where people use AI to help us get better at our jobs while learning new skills. Drishti is an early example of a coaching network being successfully deployed and creating immediate value for an industry in need of disruptive innovation.”

– Jason Green, general partner at Emergence Capital

“In the future, humans and machines will be working together to deepen the effectiveness of each, driving better outcomes than what would be possible with just humans or just algorithms alone. Drishti’s focus on extending human potential is an example of this principle in action, and the benefits to manufacturers and line associates are clear.”

– Frank Chen, partner at Andreessen Horowitz

“Drishti’s mission, ‘to extend human potential in an increasingly automated world,’ resonates with the World Economic Forum and blends the important role of humans with our belief that innovation is critical to the future well-being of society and to driving economic growth.”

– Francisco Betti, head of advanced manufacturing and production at the World Economic Forum.

“The manufacturing industry, and particularly the people who work on the assembly line, have long been neglected by innovators because of the misconception that factories aren’t ‘sexy.’ But manufacturing’s future relies on worker safety and happiness and supply chain resiliency. Drishti saw the potential impact that new technology like AI, computer vision and machine learning could have in manufacturing, and transformed that opportunity into a deployed solution that is improving metrics across the board.”

– Anik Bose, general partner, Benhamou Global Ventures