Elon Musk is brazen about his obsession with production. Over the years, Tesla has gradually gained recognition in the manufacturing world by improving production quality. Now two Tesla veterans want to share their smart factory know-how with other automakers through an emerging startup.
Founded by Allen Pan, who was Tesla’s autonomous factory leader in Fremont, and Lukas Pankau, who was a chief electrical architect behind Models X, Y and 3, Industrial Next aims to bring the latest manufacturing technologies to electric vehicle suppliers around the world. , a vision that has recently helped it gain investor support.
The startup just raised $12 million in a pre-Series A round led by Lenovo Capital, the venture capital vehicle of Chinese computer giant Lenovo, which owns IBM’s PC business. Xiaomi’s strategic investment arm and AlphaX Partners also participated in the financing round.
Notably, Industrial Next has gone through both Y Combinator in the US and MiraclePlus, the legacy of YC China, a move that has facilitated its global expansion.
In 2019, YC announced the closure of its China unit, just a year after the incubator entered the country. Lu Qi, the famed AI scientist hired to lead YC China, went on to found MiraclePlus, which was designed to operate through an independent fund and operational team, but would still enjoy Lu’s ties to YC.
Industrial Next’s double-dipping appears to be the result of that arrangement. The startup joined YC after MiraclePlus suggested it could “use YC as a launch pad” in the US to expand its customer base, according to a person with knowledge of the matter.
Some manufacturers have already shown an interest in Industrial Next. The startup sells a mix of modular equipment, custom software and follow-up services, allowing customers to purchase a single production unit or the entire factory.
More specifically, it provides carmakers with smart factory capabilities, such as detection devices that run on edge computing, algorithms that can detect defects during production rather than afterwards, and a data framework that can inform designers about production progress in a timely manner.
All of these elements should give suppliers greater agility at a time when increased competition among EV startups forces factories to significantly shorten production cycles, adapt to changing demand and scale production capacity.
The startup clearly sees Tesla as a benchmark as it told investors it aims to “improve Tesla-tested and proven manufacturing technologies and transform the industry,” according to the pitch script at MiraclePlus’ demo day, seen by TechCrunch. It has been in talks with EV upstart Rivian and Nio, as well as smart hardware OEM Huaqin and Wisetech for procurement, the pitch said.
This post Tesla veterans’ Industrial Next raises $12 million to automate EV production – TechCrunch was original published at “https://techcrunch.com/2022/06/28/tesla-veterans-industrial-next-raises-from-to-ev-auto-factories/”