Flexciton is using AI to help factories optimise production lines

Flexciton, the London-based startup that is using AI to help factories optimise production lines, has raised £2.5 million in funding, in a round led by Backed VC. Also participating is Join Capital and company builder Entrepreneur First. The young company pitched at EF’s 6th London demo day in 2016. Riding the so-called “Industry 4.0” wave, […]

Flexciton, the London-based startup that is using AI to help factories optimise production lines, has raised £2.5 million in funding, in a round led by Backed VC. Also participating is Join Capital and company builder Entrepreneur First. The young company pitched at EF’s 6th London demo day in 2016.

Riding the so-called “Industry 4.0” wave, Flexciton has developed an AI-driven solution to optimise the way manufacturers plan and schedule “multi-step production lines,” which it says is a complex mathematical task faced by all manufacturers. It’s also traditionally quite a manual one, with existing software solutions still leaving a lot of the heavy lifting to humans.

“Running every factory in the world is a plan for that factory’s production,” explains Flexciton co-founder Jamie Potter. “This plan dictates everything which goes on in the factory. Plan well and a factory can be very profitable but plan badly and the same factory could deliver late on customer orders, overspend on equipment and materials and have its margins destroyed”.

Potter says that typically a human manually creates a plan based on their past experience, which isn’t always optimal. “The difference between an Ok plan and the optimal plan is huge for a factory, planning well can save a single factory many millions of pounds per year. The problem is, finding that optimal plan is one of the hardest mathematical problems that exists in the real world”.

Which, of course, is where more machines can help. Flexciton’s AI technology learns from a factory’s data, and Potter says it can understand exactly how that factory works. “It can then search through the trillions of different options to find the most efficient production plan. The results can be staggering too as our technology has shown time and again that it is capable of double-digit performance gains to a factory!” he says.

Already revenue-generating, Flexciton has customers in the textiles, food, automotive and semiconductor sectors. “We love to work with particularly complicated factories. Here the planning problem is the hardest and this is where we add the most value,” says Potter.

To back this up, Flexciton has recruited a number of experts in the field of industrial optimisation and AI. The current Flexciton team has published over 140 peer-reviewed academic papers, which focus on the practical application of this technology in eight different industrial use cases. To boot, Flexciton’s senior optimisation scientist, Dr. Giorgos Kopanos, has even published a book on the subject.

Flexciton is using AI to help factories optimise production lines

Flexciton, the London-based startup that is using AI to help factories optimise production lines, has raised £2.5 million in funding, in a round led by Backed VC. Also participating is Join Capital and company builder Entrepreneur First. The young company pitched at EF’s 6th London demo day in 2016. Riding the so-called “Industry 4.0” wave, […]

Flexciton, the London-based startup that is using AI to help factories optimise production lines, has raised £2.5 million in funding, in a round led by Backed VC. Also participating is Join Capital and company builder Entrepreneur First. The young company pitched at EF’s 6th London demo day in 2016.

Riding the so-called “Industry 4.0” wave, Flexciton has developed an AI-driven solution to optimise the way manufacturers plan and schedule “multi-step production lines,” which it says is a complex mathematical task faced by all manufacturers. It’s also traditionally quite a manual one, with existing software solutions still leaving a lot of the heavy lifting to humans.

“Running every factory in the world is a plan for that factory’s production,” explains Flexciton co-founder Jamie Potter. “This plan dictates everything which goes on in the factory. Plan well and a factory can be very profitable but plan badly and the same factory could deliver late on customer orders, overspend on equipment and materials and have its margins destroyed”.

Potter says that typically a human manually creates a plan based on their past experience, which isn’t always optimal. “The difference between an Ok plan and the optimal plan is huge for a factory, planning well can save a single factory many millions of pounds per year. The problem is, finding that optimal plan is one of the hardest mathematical problems that exists in the real world”.

Which, of course, is where more machines can help. Flexciton’s AI technology learns from a factory’s data, and Potter says it can understand exactly how that factory works. “It can then search through the trillions of different options to find the most efficient production plan. The results can be staggering too as our technology has shown time and again that it is capable of double-digit performance gains to a factory!” he says.

Already revenue-generating, Flexciton has customers in the textiles, food, automotive and semiconductor sectors. “We love to work with particularly complicated factories. Here the planning problem is the hardest and this is where we add the most value,” says Potter.

To back this up, Flexciton has recruited a number of experts in the field of industrial optimisation and AI. The current Flexciton team has published over 140 peer-reviewed academic papers, which focus on the practical application of this technology in eight different industrial use cases. To boot, Flexciton’s senior optimisation scientist, Dr. Giorgos Kopanos, has even published a book on the subject.

Canada’s Telus says partner Huawei is ‘reliable’: reports

The US-China tension over Huawei is leaving telecommunications companies around the world at a crossroad, but one spoke out last week. Telus, one of Canada’s largest phone companies showed support for its Chinese partner despite a global backlash against Huawei over cybersecurity threats. “Clearly, Huawei remains a viable and reliable participant in the Canadian telecommunications […]

The US-China tension over Huawei is leaving telecommunications companies around the world at a crossroad, but one spoke out last week. Telus, one of Canada’s largest phone companies showed support for its Chinese partner despite a global backlash against Huawei over cybersecurity threats.

“Clearly, Huawei remains a viable and reliable participant in the Canadian telecommunications space, bolstered by globally leading innovation, comprehensive security measures, and new software upgrades,” said an internal memo signed by a Telus executive that The Globe and Mail obtained.

The Vancouver-based firm is among a handful of Canadian companies that could potentially leverage the Shenzhen-based company to build out 5G systems, the technology that speeds up not just mobile connection but more crucially powers emerging fields like low-latency autonomous driving and 8K video streaming. TechCrunch has contacted Telus for comments and will update the article when more information becomes available.

The United States has long worried that China’s telecom equipment makers could be beholden to Beijing and thus pose espionage risks. As fears heighten, President Donald Trump is reportedly mulling a boycott of Huawei and ZTE this year, according to Reuters. The Wall Street Journal reported last week that US federal prosecutors may bring criminal charges against Huawei for stealing trade secrets.

Australia and New Zealand have both blocked local providers from using Huawei components. The United Kingdom has not officially banned Huawei but its authorities have come under pressure to take sides soon.

Canada, which is part of the Five Eyes intelligence-sharing network alongside Australia, New Zealand, the UK and the US, is still conducting a security review ahead of its 5G rollout but has been urged by neighboring US to steer clear of Huawei in building the next-gen tech.

China has hit back at spy claims against its tech crown jewel over the past months. Last week, its ambassador to Canada Lu Shaye warned that blocking the world’s largest telecom equipment maker may yield repercussions.

“I always have concerns that Canada may make the same decision as the US, Australia and New Zealand did. And I believe such decisions are not fair because their accusations are groundless,” Lu said at a press conference. “As for the consequences of banning Huawei from 5G network, I am not sure yet what kind of consequences will be, but I surely believe there will be consequences.”

Last week also saw Huawei chief executive officer Ren Zhengfei appear in a rare interview with international media. At the roundtable, he denied security charges against the firm he founded in 1987 and cautioned the exclusion of Chinese firms may delay plans in the US to deliver ultra-high-speed networks to rural populations — including to the rich.

“If Huawei is not involved in this, these districts may have to pay very high prices in order to enjoy that level of experience,” argued Ren. “Those countries may voluntarily approach Huawei and ask Huawei to sell them 5G products rather than banning Huawei from selling 5G systems.”

The Huawei controversy comes as the US and China are locked in a trade war that’s sending reverberations across countries that rely on the US for security protection and China for investment and increasingly skilled — not just cheap — labor.

Canada got caught between the feuding giants after it arrested Huawei’s chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou, who’s also Ren’s daughter, at the request of US authorities. The White House is now facing a deadline at the end of January to extradite Meng. Meanwhile, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Trump are urging Beijing to release two Canadian citizens who Beijing detained following Meng’s arrest.

Canada’s Telus says partner Huawei is ‘reliable’: reports

The US-China tension over Huawei is leaving telecommunications companies around the world at a crossroad, but one spoke out last week. Telus, one of Canada’s largest phone companies showed support for its Chinese partner despite a global backlash against Huawei over cybersecurity threats. “Clearly, Huawei remains a viable and reliable participant in the Canadian telecommunications […]

The US-China tension over Huawei is leaving telecommunications companies around the world at a crossroad, but one spoke out last week. Telus, one of Canada’s largest phone companies showed support for its Chinese partner despite a global backlash against Huawei over cybersecurity threats.

“Clearly, Huawei remains a viable and reliable participant in the Canadian telecommunications space, bolstered by globally leading innovation, comprehensive security measures, and new software upgrades,” said an internal memo signed by a Telus executive that The Globe and Mail obtained.

The Vancouver-based firm is among a handful of Canadian companies that could potentially leverage the Shenzhen-based company to build out 5G systems, the technology that speeds up not just mobile connection but more crucially powers emerging fields like low-latency autonomous driving and 8K video streaming. TechCrunch has contacted Telus for comments and will update the article when more information becomes available.

The United States has long worried that China’s telecom equipment makers could be beholden to Beijing and thus pose espionage risks. As fears heighten, President Donald Trump is reportedly mulling a boycott of Huawei and ZTE this year, according to Reuters. The Wall Street Journal reported last week that US federal prosecutors may bring criminal charges against Huawei for stealing trade secrets.

Australia and New Zealand have both blocked local providers from using Huawei components. The United Kingdom has not officially banned Huawei but its authorities have come under pressure to take sides soon.

Canada, which is part of the Five Eyes intelligence-sharing network alongside Australia, New Zealand, the UK and the US, is still conducting a security review ahead of its 5G rollout but has been urged by neighboring US to steer clear of Huawei in building the next-gen tech.

China has hit back at spy claims against its tech crown jewel over the past months. Last week, its ambassador to Canada Lu Shaye warned that blocking the world’s largest telecom equipment maker may yield repercussions.

“I always have concerns that Canada may make the same decision as the US, Australia and New Zealand did. And I believe such decisions are not fair because their accusations are groundless,” Lu said at a press conference. “As for the consequences of banning Huawei from 5G network, I am not sure yet what kind of consequences will be, but I surely believe there will be consequences.”

Last week also saw Huawei chief executive officer Ren Zhengfei appear in a rare interview with international media. At the roundtable, he denied security charges against the firm he founded in 1987 and cautioned the exclusion of Chinese firms may delay plans in the US to deliver ultra-high-speed networks to rural populations — including to the rich.

“If Huawei is not involved in this, these districts may have to pay very high prices in order to enjoy that level of experience,” argued Ren. “Those countries may voluntarily approach Huawei and ask Huawei to sell them 5G products rather than banning Huawei from selling 5G systems.”

The Huawei controversy comes as the US and China are locked in a trade war that’s sending reverberations across countries that rely on the US for security protection and China for investment and increasingly skilled — not just cheap — labor.

Canada got caught between the feuding giants after it arrested Huawei’s chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou, who’s also Ren’s daughter, at the request of US authorities. The White House is now facing a deadline at the end of January to extradite Meng. Meanwhile, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Trump are urging Beijing to release two Canadian citizens who Beijing detained following Meng’s arrest.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez drops in on Twitch stream, says Nintendo 64 is the best console – CNET

Aaron Sorkin told democrats like AOC to stop acting like “young people”, so she went on a Donkey Kong livestream and talked about Pokemon Snap and why the N64 is the best console.

Aaron Sorkin told democrats like AOC to stop acting like "young people", so she went on a Donkey Kong livestream and talked about Pokemon Snap and why the N64 is the best console.

Invoice finance platform MarketInvoice raises $33.5M from Barclays, Santander

London, with its huge FinTech hub, is continuing to attract investment and that is no better represented today than with the news that MarketInvoice, arguably Europe’s largest online invoice finance platform, has raised £26M ($33.5M) in a Series-B funding round led by Barclays and fintech fund Santander InnoVentures, alongside participation from European VC Northzone, which […]

London, with its huge FinTech hub, is continuing to attract investment and that is no better represented today than with the news that MarketInvoice, arguably Europe’s largest online invoice finance platform, has raised £26M ($33.5M) in a Series-B funding round led by Barclays and fintech fund Santander InnoVentures, alongside participation from European VC Northzone, which previously invested. In August last year Barlcays took a minority equity stake in the company and rolled out the service to its large SME client base.
Technology credit fund Viola Credit, which also participated, will additionally provide a debt facility of up to £30m to help scale the MarketInvoice business loans solution which is part of its core invoice finance solutions.
The funding will be used to deepen MarketInvoice’s market in the UK and launch what it called “cross-border fintech-bank partnerships” which it would be reasonable to conclude would include expanding into new markets.
Established in 2011, MarketInvoice has funded invoices and business loans to UK companies worth more than £2 billion, and they claim to be Europe’s largest online invoice finance platform.
Anil Stocker, Co-founder & CEO told me: “for us strategic partnerships, especially those where we can use new sources of data, are becoming increasingly important. Our mission is to help as many entrepreneurs as possible gain access to finance… Barclays realises it’s a good way of upgrading their offering to SMEs, and get more lending out to help these businesses. For us, by working with Barclays’ network and presence in the market, we’re able to educate more businesses on our funding solutions, something which would take much more time if we were to do it on our own.”
Ian Rand, CEO of Barclays Business Bank, said: “This investment demonstrates our commitment to the partnership we announced last summer which offers hundreds of thousands of our SME clients access to even more innovative forms of finance, boosting cash flow and competition in the market.” Manuel Silva Martínez, Managing Partner and Head of Investments at Santander InnoVentures commented: “MarketInvoice is helping UK businesses access much needed funding to keep their businesses and ideas thriving in a very competitive market.”