Elementary Robotics, seeking to transform manufacturing with intelligent automation, closed a $12.7 million Series A funding round

LOS ANGELES — Manufacturers today are dealing with an array of challenges to keep up, including securing and retaining skilled labor, producing high quality products at larger volumes and lower prices, and implementing remote production monitoring. Today’s challenges also require evolving strategies to support employee health and safety, such as integrating proper social distancing into factories.

Among these challenges, visual inspection and traceability have traditionally been especially difficult to automate. Often, they’ve resulted in lower throughput, added headcount, high turnover, inconsistent results, and low data tracking, according to Elementary Robotics, a Los Angeles-based robotics startup that recently closed a $12.7 million Series A funding round led by Threshold Ventures (formerly DFJ), an early-stage investor in disruptive technology companies.

Elementary Robotics, founded in 2017, has built a hardware and software platform for applying machine learning and computer vision for intelligent automation of quality and traceability workflows in manufacturing and logistics, the company said in a release. Elementary’s products automate inspections and are said to help customers achieve value across the production line by using deep learning to find defects, including those that manufacturers didn’t even know to look for.

The Elementary platform delivers inspections that are easy to set up, traceable in the cloud, and allow for human inspectors to be kept in the loop to further train the system over time, according to the company.

“Toyota is always looking for ways to leverage innovative technologies to help our employees and improve the manufacturing process, and we’re excited to partner with Elementary in our Indiana plant,” said Jason Puckett, vice president of manufacturing, Toyota Motor Manufacturing Indiana, in the release. “Elementary’s platform will bring value to our production lines by allowing us to automate traceability scans and add AI, machine vision, and automation.”

Elementary Robotics said it is working with multiple world class manufacturing and logistics companies that have benefited from the platform. These benefits are said to include transition to 100 percent inspection where, previously, only sample-based inspection occurred; remote visibility into quality and production lines; and automation of known visual inspections and discovery of new defects, resulting in decreased scrap rates. Another benefit is the standardization of inspection tasks and ease of duplication across different factories and production lines in an affordable manner, the company said.

Elementary Robotics’ new round of capital, which also had participation from existing investors Fika Ventures, Fathom Capital, Ubiquity Ventures, and Toyota AI Ventures, allows Elementary to continue developing and deploying its automation products at scale. With this round, Threshold Ventures Partner Mo Islam has joined the Elementary Robotics Board of Directors.

“Elementary has developed a software-defined robotics solution to automate visual inspection, leveraging deep learning-based computer vision and low-complexity, rapidly deployable hardware,” said Mo Islam, partner at Threshold Ventures, in a statement. “We were immediately impressed with the team’s product-led sales approach, and are excited by their potential as a leader in the industrial machine vision space.”

A full-stack robotics company, Elementary Robotics (https://www.elementaryrobotics.com) is tackling machine learning for robotic hardware from the ground up. The company, incubated at Idealab in Pasadena, was founded by industry veterans of IoT, wearables, augmented reality, and robotics from Qualcomm, Caltech, NASA JPL, SpaceX, and Art Center College of Design. Its mission: to create assistive tools to improve human output of repetitive tasks.

“Building Elementary has been a fantastic journey over the past three years, and I’ve enjoyed working with our world-class partners to develop scalable solutions to their problems, which our team is well-suited to solve,” said Arye Barnehama, founder and CEO of Elementary Robotics, in a statement. “I’m extremely excited to go public with what we’re building, continue to support more companies with their quality and traceability needs, and grow the Elementary team to expand and deploy our innovative platform.”

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