Insights and Updates

Why we invested in Akridata!

Today, we welcome Akridata, an Edge data platform company for data-centric AI, to our portfolio. We are delighted to join Accel Partners, Telesoft Partners and others in the company’s $15M Series A financing round.

Computer Vision has been a key focus area for our fund. Several of our investments address opportunities around computer vision and video data. TwentyBN (acquired by Qualcomm) built a real-time edge solution for video understanding. Our Robotics investments, Agility Robotics and Ati Motors have cameras and LIDARs at the core of their product. Analog Inference and their ultra low power AI processor focuses on Video AI workloads at the edge.

Unstructured data like video, LIDAR and other sensor data are huge in size and mostly get created at the Edge. From autonomous vehicles to Robots to security cameras to retail automation systems, terabytes of video and unstructured data are generated every day at the edge. It is slow, expensive and laborious to carry all this data to a central cloud for processing. In a data centric deep learning AI world that is constantly evolving, having quick access to the right dataset is paramount. There is a soaring need for a sophisticated edge-to-core platform to ingest, manage, understand, search and track video data to efficiently deploy deep learning AI models. We have been looking at a solution that will address this area of computer vision. 

Enter Akridata – I have known Kumar Ganapathy and Vijay Karamcheti, founders of Akridata, for several years. They are seasoned serial entrepreneurs having built successful companies like VxTel and Virident. At Akridata, they have been approaching this Edge video data problem in a methodical and exhaustive fashion. They have built a product that will deliver an end-to-end solution for customers struggling to manage and utilize rich Edge data. 

Vijay and the tech team have built an enterprise hardened product using groundbreaking mathematical models and statistical techniques to understand, interpret and analyze video data. As a deep tech fund, we look for companies with proprietary, hard to replicate technology that drives their competitive advantage. What Akridata has built so far is impressive and hard to replicate. Their traction with blue-chip customers validates the effectiveness of the solution.

Why Akridata

It is great to do this investment along with Dinesh Katiyar at Accel and Arjun Gupta at Telesoft Partners. Both are experienced investors with a long track record of supporting founders to build big companies. Fun fact – my very first investment ever as a Venture investor was with Arjun at Validity Sensors, all the way back in 2006 – so I am looking forward to working with Arjun at a board again. 

Explosion of Computer vision and video / unstructured data is only getting started. As automation and autonomy get deployed across multiple verticals, Akridata’s product will become integral to the success of AI teams in the enterprise. We look forward to helping Akridata build a category creating product in Edge Data management for a data centric AI world. 

Welcome to MFV Portfolio, Akridata!

Semiconductor Startups – Are they back?

MFV Partners’ new investment – Agility Robotics

Today, we welcome our newest addition to MFV Partners’ portfolio – a bipedal, humanoid Robotics company, Agility Robotics. We are delighted to join DCVC, Playground Global, TDK Ventures and others in the company’s $20M financing round. And this marks our second investment in Robotics.

Robotics has been around for decades – but it has found its footing in the last few years and has been growing rapidly. Advances in computer vision, navigation, AI and sensors have made Robots smarter and able to handle long, complex tasks. Smartphones have driven down the cost of computing, connectivity and other components making today’s Robots an order of magnitude cheaper compared to the ones from few years ago. Robots are finding use across construction, manufacturing, transportation, logistics …

Most of the robots we see today are made for purpose-built environments with little to no human interaction. Factories, warehouses and assembly lines are built from scratch or modified to fit Robots. When we were talking to Robotics startups, it became clear that there is a huge need for Robots that can work in existing, unstructured environments and can work alongside humans.

Enter Agility Robotics. When Andrew Maywah of TDK ventures introduced us to Damion and Jonathan, we went in with a lot of skepticism. In the past decade, we had seen demos and prototypes of bipedal robots – they all have crashed and burned; and none of those efforts turned into a commercial grade product that can be deployed in a factory or a warehouse. In our first meeting with Agility, we came away hugely impressed with the depth of the team and the maturity of the product. Few things became very clear:

  • The company has moved way beyond demos and prototypes; the product has evolved to commercial grade quality and can be deployed across various use cases. They were shipping Robots for a year.
  • Bipedal humanoid Robot has been Jonathan and his team’s area of research and focus for more than a decade and the team had amassed unmatched knowledge and expertise in the space.
  • Damion and Jonathan are thoughtful, grounded and focused leaders and are driven to build a long term successful company.

Agility’s technology is fundamentally different from the wheeled Robots in the market. Digit, Agility’s first Robot, mimics the biokinetic mechanics of animals and humans to walk and move. That provides significant flexibility to adapt and work in different terrains without understanding the terrain in millimeter level detail like other Robots try to do. Digit can work in unstructured environments, can perform a wide variety of complex functions and interact in a human filled environment. As we conducted diligence on product, technology and customers, we became convinced that Agility is building something fundamentally different and potentially, category defining.

Agility Robotics – Road Ahead!

We are excited to be working along with Matt Ocko and DCVC team, Bruce Leak and Playground team in addition to TDK Ventures and other investor partners. Agility’s Robots will be deployed across many customers and use cases over the next few years and we are excited to be part of their journey and to help them succeed!

Welcome to MFV Portfolio, Agility Robotics!

Investments in Edge AI and Quantum Computing

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