Ann Arbor-Based Wind Energy Solutions Company SkySpecs Raises $17 Million

By Amit Chowdhry ● December 21, 2019
  • SkySpecs, an Ann Arbor, Michigan-based provider of Operations & Maintenance solutions for the wind energy, announced it raised $17 million in Series C funding

SkySpecs — an Ann Arbor, Michigan-based provider of Operations & Maintenance solutions for the wind energy industry — announced it has raised $17 million in Series C funding. The funding news comes on the heels of a major growth year for SkySpecs.

SkySpecs has tripled its staff and built out solutions offerings for the wind energy industry. Plus the company hit 30,000 fully autonomous inspections.

And SkySpecs also set its sights on using technology such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, robotics, and software for optimizing operations and maintenance in order to enable better decision making about repairs and proactive planning. SkySpecs is on a mission to continue driving change in the renewable energy sector in a way where technology and automation enables higher levels of global accessibility.

SkySpecs CEO and founder Danny Ellis pointed out that the funding will be used for supporting several important initiatives, including doubling the team in both the United States and Europe, continuing to develop the functionality of Horizon (the company’s asset management solution that enables smart repair planning) and to offer autonomous wind turbine inspections across the world. 

“This investment is a reflection of our commitment to both our customers and the renewables sector. We are thrilled to welcome McRock and all of our investors to our team and are grateful for their confidence in what we believe will be a tide change for renewable energy.”

This funding round was led by McRock iNFund LP — which is an Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) venture capital fund managed by McRock Capital. And other new investors in the round included Equinor Energy Ventures, and Evergy Ventures. Evergy Ventures is the non-regulated investment affiliate of Evergy, the parent company of Kansas City Power & Light Company (KCP&L) and Westar Energy. Existing investors including Statkraft Ventures, UL Ventures, Capital Midwest Fund, and Venture Investors also joined the round. Including this round of funding, SkySpecs has raised a total of $29 million.

“Utilities are increasing clean energy production, shifting generation mix toward sustainable sources.  Wind energy will play a key role in making the United States’ generation mix sustainable,” added Brock Smith, Managing Director of Evergy Ventures. “As wind fleets get older, keeping costs low will require solutions like SkySpecs’ Horizon platform that enable damage detection, predictive maintenance, and automation of what are labor intensive tasks today.”

SkySpecs sees this raise as pivotal and it comes at a time when both renewable energy and the key players involved in its rapid growth are ready for investing in adopting a more streamlined and data-driven approach to maintaining their fleet of wind turbines, which now require closer attention and more predictive maintenance as they age.

“As a leader in the wind energy technology space, the SkySpecs’ team presented a unique mix of skills across software analytics and robotic technology, combined with deep focus in a vertical market that is undergoing change,” explained Scott MacDonald, co-founder and managing partner at McRock. “SkySpecs is pushing the frontier of data-driven decision making to add technological advancements to the way turbines are kept healthy and technology is employed.”

SkySpecs automates the operations and maintenance of wind energy assets through robotics and predictive analytics software for enabling better decision making and a higher degree of transparency into operational planning over the lifetime of a fleet. And through SkySpecs’ suite of solutions, unplanned downtime is minimized and total production potential increases thus making renewable energy more accessible to the world.

“Wind farms require intelligent maintenance in order for wind to be a main source of sustainable energy. The SkySpecs Team shares our vision and has the technical and operational depth to develop the intelligent maintenance solutions that are needed,” stated UL Ventures Corporate VP & Managing Director Simin Zhou.

Currently, SkySpecs has offices in Ann Arbor, MI and Amsterdam, Netherlands. And the company operates in 19 countries on 5 continents.

“This round and our continued momentum highlights how massive the need is to streamline operations & maintenance for renewable energy,” noted SkySpecs founder & chief technology officer Tom Brady. “Our newest investors bring a depth of experience and share our vision of robotically-run wind farms. Our new funding will fuel continued product innovations that will make our vision a reality.”