ControlRooms.ai, an Austin-based startup, has recently secured USD10 million in a Series A funding round to further develop its industrial manufacturing troubleshooting platform. With industrial manufacturers facing an average of 800 hours of unplanned downtime each year, costing an estimated $50 billion annually, ControlRooms.ai aims to revolutionise the troubleshooting process with the help of artificial intelligence (AI).
Traditional troubleshooting methods in heavy industries such as chemical and energy plants have remained largely unchanged since the 1980s. ControlRooms.ai seeks to address this by offering an AI-powered analytics application that automates the troubleshooting process. By providing specific insights into potential problems, the platform minimises the need for time-consuming and inefficient searches for underlying issues.
The company’s turnkey troubleshooting platform is designed to be implemented within a week without requiring modifications to existing systems. By leveraging AI, ControlRooms.ai’s platform can predict manufacturing plant behaviour and detect potential problems before they are noticed by engineers or control room operators. This proactive approach ensures that issues are addressed promptly, reducing downtime and improving productivity.
ControlRooms.ai was founded in 2021 by CEO Monte Zweben, a renowned AI expert and serial entrepreneur, and Omar A. Talib, the company’s president and former employee of an AI solutions provider for energy producers. In 2022, ControlRooms.ai launched its first product, which has already gained traction with five customers.
One of the company’s chemical industry customers utilises ControlRooms.ai to monitor over 10,000 asset parameters in real-time, such as pressures, volumes, and temperatures. By tracking these parameters, the customer can prevent reliability violations that could negatively impact asset health. ControlRooms.ai sets itself apart from competitors by offering an application purpose-built for process engineers, operations engineers, and operations supervisors in heavy industry facilities. This specialisation ensures that the platform meets the unique needs of these professionals, unlike general-purpose AI platforms.
With the recent funding, ControlRooms.ai plans to accelerate its product development and expand its market presence in heavy industries, including chemical, petrochemical, energy, and materials facilities. The company aims to target markets in the United States, Asia (specifically China, Japan, and South Korea), Germany, and the Middle East.
In addition to its current offerings, ControlRooms.ai is also investing in extensive research and development to incorporate generative AI capabilities into its platform. By leveraging techniques similar to those used in conversational AI models like ChatGPT-4, the company hopes to enable predictive applications that allow operations personnel to anticipate issues and avoid surprises. This advancement would provide unprecedented visibility into industrial time-series data, empowering professionals to make informed decisions and optimise operations.
The USD$10 million raised in the Series A funding round, which was oversubscribed, demonstrates the confidence investors have in ControlRooms.ai’s innovative approach to industrial troubleshooting. Led by Origin Ventures, the round also saw participation from prominent venture capital firms, including Amity Ventures, Tokio Marine Future Fund, S3 Ventures, GTM Fund, Alpha Square Group, and FJ Labs. With a total funding of USD$13.75 million, ControlRooms.ai is well-positioned to drive advancements in industrial troubleshooting and help manufacturers reduce costly unplanned downtime.