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Series A Financing Round


EthonAI closes CHF 15M Series A financing round

May 30, 2024

EthonAI, a pioneer of AI-powered manufacturing analytics, today announced its CHF 15m Series A funding – led by Index Ventures, with existing investors General Catalyst, Earlybird, and Founderful participating. 

While other industries pounced on data analytics early and never looked back, manufacturing has lagged behind. Now, across products as diverse as chocolate, watches, automotive parts and consumer electronics, EthonAI is powering data-driven factories and changing the whole paradigm of manufacturing. Launching today, its Manufacturing Analytics System (MAS) leverages AI to give engineers and managers a ‘sixth sense’ about what’s happening on the factory floor – helping them to spot defects, identify process inefficiencies, improve quality and reduce waste by as much as 50%. 

EthonAI was co-founded by Julian Senoner (CEO) and Bernhard Kratzwald (CTO) in 2021. Both completed their PhDs at ETH Zurich, where they studied manufacturing applications of AI at industry leaders such as Siemens and Aker Solutions. Together with Torbjørn Netland, a renowned ETH professor of production management, they realized the value of their research and decided to make their technology available to the broader industry.

AI can tackle global waste problem at critical juncture in manufacturing

In procurement, logistics and finance, companies have been optimizing based on data for the last 10 years. Yet manufacturing lags behind – even as the amount of data produced by factories has ballooned with the rise of sensor technology. This gap between the reality and the potential for this data trove represents a huge commercial opportunity for manufacturers, who are under increasing pressure at a time of global supply chain instability. 

At the same time, it’s estimated that every fifth dollar spent in manufacturing goes to waste. The consequences are even greater for producers’ ‘top line’ because failing to deliver sufficient quantities of high-quality products often leads manufacturers to lose their customers, not just their profits. By supporting and empowering engineers and managers to make better, data-driven decisions, EthonAI is a transformative way to grow margins and improve customer satisfaction.

‘Manufacturing is at a critical juncture, and companies that fail to adapt with AI risk falling behind. Factories are producing mountains of data and AI is the key to unlocking insights to drive operational excellence,’ Senoner says. ‘Global supply chains are trembling, and the EU and US are seeking to rebuild manufacturing capabilities. We’re in the throes of a global rethinking of how manufacturing is done – with digitalization, data and AI at the center. That’s exactly where EthonAI is positioned.’

EthonAI launches Manufacturing Analytics System (MAS) to unlock operational excellence at scale

To address these problems, EthonAI has created an entirely new category of software: the Manufacturing Analytics System (MAS). This multi-layered platform has been developed based on years of research, and sits on top of all existing factory data sources such as sensor measurements, order information, and computer vision images. Like a set of AI-driven power-tools that augments the abilities of factory managers and engineers, the MAS creates a real-time picture of what’s happening, analyzes the origins of any problems, and predicts what can be done to resolve them.

‘Factories have truly come “online” in the last few years, with the growth of sensors to measure everything from the temperature of a boiler to the vibration of a motor,’ says Katharina Wilhelm, the partner at Index Ventures who led the investment. ‘But data is only valuable if you can digest it, make sense of it, and use it to drive decisions. That’s where EthonAI comes in – helping you to make sense of the data and quickly spot problems, point to bottlenecks and drive operational excellence overall. It turns the paradigm of manufacturing from a piecemeal and reactive one into an intelligent and proactive one.’

EthonAI will deploy new funding to accelerate enterprise motion and add new AI capabilities

EthonAI has a diverse customer base of Fortune 500 companies and industry leaders across the globe – including Siemens Smart Infrastructure and Lindt & Sprüngli. 

Industry giant Siemens was an early adopter of EthonAI and has been a customer since the company’s foundation. For example, in the factory in Zug, Switzerland, EthonAI’s MAS is being used with a clear focus on quality control and value stream analysis. ‘Due to the fragmentation of manufacturing software solutions, we are facing a lack of standardization between factories.’ Alexander Dierolf, Head of Data Intelligence and Automation at Siemens Smart Infrastructure, comments. ‘With EthonAI we are able to replace single solutions with a modern suite of interoperable tools to specifically improve our product’s quality as well as throughput.’ Siemens will be rolling out EthonAI to further factories across Europe and the US.

For Lindt, creating the perfect Lindor truffle involves multiple interlocking dependencies, such as raw material quality, humidity, temperature, and variations in machine age and local factory infrastructure. To maintain quality while shipping billions of Lindor truffles every year, Lindt relies on EthonAI’s causal AI tools to model the relationship between different physical processes and the quality of the resulting truffle, and to make recommendations for improvement. 

EthonAI’s core AI technology has been developed internally by its team of engineers from leading tech and industry companies. Now, the team will focus on deploying funds to build out its platform capabilities and enhance its enterprise offering to meet the demands of customers who are already scaling the MAS across multiple factories.