Sustainable Industrial Solutions in Durham not only has a new name (ndustrial.io) but also a new investor from Silicon Valley (Bay Grove Capital).
So how did the Durham firm land an investor from the Valley? By working with and demonstrating value through a contract with a Bay Grove Capital-owned company.
Plus, the founders’ attitudes.
Bay Grove said it found in SIS “a company in North Carolina with a Silicon Valley innovation mentality tackling traditional industries.”
SIS, as it was known previously, announced the new name and investment on Thursday. The amount of the funding was not disclosed.
Now, industrial.io is expanding to take the world of Internet connected devices – the “Internet of Things” to industry. The IoT in logistics alone is a multi-trillion-dollar opportunity in coming years, according to a new Cisco study, and some $20 million overall.
“this has just blossomed,” says co-founder and CEO Jason Massey. From an initial focus on how to save clients money through facility upfits, ndustrial.io now provides a variety of software-as-a-service products, including dashboards, to show how new technology and increased efficiency is saving money – in real time. A platform-as-a-service is under development, too.
“We’ve expanded beyond electricity to natural gas and water,” he says. The company is delivering “actionable information” to help a growing list of clients cut costs.
And as a result of the all the growth plus the new funding, ndustrial.io is hiring.
“Oh yeah,” replies Massey enthusiastically when asked if his venture is hiring. “We are grossly under-resourced right now.”
Opening a development office in San Francisco, the former SIS is looking primarily to hire software developers. The company also recently moved into larger office space in Durham.
Saving “boat load” of money
Massey, an N.C. State graduate and former venture capitalist himself who launched the company four years ago as one of the first clients in the American Underground, is working on closing a first round of investment which includes Bay Grove and Acorn Innovestments. The latter has put $300,000 into the startup so far, Massey noted. It’s also landed several individual angel investors.
Landing a contract to help service a storage facility in eastern North Carolina that services food giant Smithfield helped lead to the Bay Capital deal. The facility is operated by Lineage Logistics, a company built by Bay Capital, Massey told WTW.
“We saved them a boat-load of money,” he said.
“Tip of the iceberg”
Bay Grove Investments, which is a private equity firm, now plans to utilize ndustrial.io technology across its Lineage Logistics operations. The firm operates more than 100 cold storage facilities as part of a distribution and logistics network for food companies and food retailers.
“That algorithm was just the tip of the iceberg with the SIS team,” said Adam Forste, Managing Director of Bay Grove. “As we learned more about the breadth of team’s capabilities, we began to do more work with them. And as a firm based out of San Francisco, Bay Grove is dead center of all the social, mobile, local startups with lofty valuations, so to find a company in North Carolina with a Silicon Valley innovation mentality tackling traditional industries – we knew we had found kindred spirits.”
Forste added that the firm sees many uses for an “Internet of Things” linking applications across industry.
“With this team’s technology we’re truly experiencing the ‘Industrial Internet of Things’ as we wire up our facilities with monitors and sensors,” he said. “So when started talking about the future of the team we started seeing the scope expand beyond simply energy and sustainability.”
Successful “guinea pigs”
SIS technology also has worked with facilities run by a company called Nomaco.
“They were our guinea pigs,” Massey explained.
The success caught Bay Grove’s attention.
“The Nomaco facilities, run by the Noel family, served as our first experiment in redefining energy efficiency and sustainability for the industrial sector,” Massey explained. “Solving Nomaco’s problem with the coincident peak utility rate cost led us to create an algorithm that initially attracted Lineage Logistics as a customer and ultimately their owner, Bay Grove Capital.”
So why the name change?
“It’s a bit of a cliché to use the term big data but with Lineage we’re leveraging and overlapping many disparate datasets and implementing very diverse technologies so it seemed natural to simplify our name to ndustrial.io,” said Massey in the announcement. “While our vision and mission don’t change, our tools to address the industrial space have just expanded. We will continue to use the SIS brand for our professional services business as we still very much believe ‘Sustainable IS Profitable.’