Investment Notes: MOVUS
We're investing in a company connecting machinery to the internet.
We’re turning the temperature up at Blackbird HQ! Today we’re excited to announce our investment in MOVUS, a Brisbane-based company looking to connect industrial machinery to the Internet.
Internet of Industrial Machines
In industrial plants across the world, there is a time-hardened employee who walks the factory floor, intuitively listening for a machine that doesn’t sound quite right. If she hears something unusual, she might put her ear closer to the offending part, looking for something out of the ordinary. Like a doctor with a stethoscope.
MOVUS was founded in 2015 to help this engineer better understand her machines. By using an array of low cost sensors in a magnetic orange puck and some powerful Artificial Intelligence algorithms, she is able to monitor any machine for abnormalities 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
This orange puck is universally applicable to any type of machine, whether that be a blast chiller at a food processing plant, a tram in Melbourne or a centrifugal pump at a chemical plant (all examples of current customers).
MOVUS was founded by Brad Parsons and Michel Lamarre in 2015. Brad and Michel have known each other for 10 years. While Brad’s background is in technology strategy, Michel comes from running large engineering mega projects. Initially the business was solely focused on rail applications given Brad’s background in rail.
In 2016, the team redesigned the product to take advantage of plummeting sensor costs, which were a byproduct of billions of smartphones being sold. By using cheap sensors and then pairing the product with AI they could achieve the same result as the expensive hardware they were previously using.
MOVUS’ customers run the gamut from Bombardier using them to monitor the health of air conditioners on the Yarra trams in Melbourne, to Wesfarmers using them to manage their chemical plants and UQ using them for industrial chillers in food processing facilities.
The industrial machines that MOVUS devices are typically attached to are critical to a company’s core operations. If the machines fail for any reason, the entire business usually stops. If the sensor is able to prevent a disaster, then the investment in MOVUS’ product has paid huge dividends.
Software has helped the world make great business decisions but its largely been confined to virtual problems like spending on marketing or making a credit decision for a bank customer. The industrial world has largely been left untouched. Because of cheap sensors and AI this now does not need to be the case. There is no need for machines to catastrophically fail and stop manufacturing or operating. There is no need for large amounts of energy to be wasted. Companies like MOVUS can help the industrial world work just as efficiently as the virtual world and we’re excited to be partnering with them.