Customer Growth, Rapid User Adoption and Technology Advancements Fuel New Financing
Upskill, the leader in enterprise augmented reality (AR) software, today announces that it has raised $17.2 million in new capital to support increased growth and product development. The funding round adds new investors including Accenture and Cisco Investments, as well as continued participation from Boeing HorizonX, GE Ventures, New Enterprise Associates (NEA), and other industrial-focused investors.
This latest financing builds on the momentum of the past 12 months for Upskill, where the company grew its multinational client base by more than 300 percent. In addition, last year Upskill introduced a new release of its flagship Skylight AR platform which added self-service AR workflow creation and data integration features, expanded its ease of use and interoperability with enterprise IT architectures, and helped accelerate adoption to a six-fold increase in usage across its client base. Global industry leaders use Skylight on smart glasses to further increase productivity, cut costs and reduce errors across their operations in more than a dozen countries.
“We are ramping up our use of Skylight and wearables inside our operations. Boeing is seeing multiple aircraft manufacturing lines benefit from the solution, and we now want to introduce AR into the services part of our business so we may service our own, and third-party products, for our end-customers,” said Ted Colbert, CIO of The Boeing Company and SVP of Information Technology & Data Analytics.
“Upskill’s augmented reality platform for smart glasses has enabled greater efficiencies in Ryder’s warehouses—from saving time and improving accuracy, to streamlining the jobs of hands-on warehouse personnel,” said Gary Allen, Vice President of Supply Chain Excellence, Ryder. “The use of wearable, hands-free technology powered by Skylight has decreased the time it takes to pick and scan inventory while improving efficiency. At Ryder, we’re all about investing in technologies that ensure safety and reliability, as well as improved productivity, visibility, and customer service levels.”
“As we continue to invest heavily in our infrastructure to help our customers to connect, our ability to service and maintain network performance is critical to the success of our business,” said Sanjay Rai, General Manager, Strategy and Productivity, Telstra Network Construction & Services. “We believe that trialing Upskill’s Skylight platform for our AR pilot program will allow us to test Upskill’s new technology as a way to connect our field technicians to network equipment in ways we couldn’t before, and potentially contribute to improving productivity and driving down costs.”
Upskill’s growing list of strategic investors, including GE Ventures and Boeing HorizonX, now joined by Accenture and Cisco Investments, points to the increasing importance of AR technology in the market, the connected worker and the Internet of Things ecosystem.
“We saw substantial growth in the last year further amplified by the launch of our new product release. That acceleration is what led our investors to participate in this new funding round,” said Brian Ballard, co-founder and CEO, Upskill. “Upskill’s group of investors now include leaders from all parts of the industrial augmented reality ecosystem, which is an important signal in the market and speaks to how we collectively contribute to digital transformation.”
“Wearables are emerging as a new category of ‘things’ enabling real-time worker connectivity and collaboration in industrial environments. Adoption of AR-enabled smart glasses, in particular, has reached an inflection point,” said Rob Salvagno, Head of Corporate Development and Cisco Investments. “Upskill has a strong track record of delivering worker productivity, efficiency and safety-based ROI for its customers through its AR platform. Cisco’s investment in Upskill aligns well with our deep commitment to IoT and digital transformation of businesses.”
Upskill and Accenture also announced today the formation of a strategic alliance which will help Accenture further expand the capabilities of the Accenture Extended Reality and Accenture Industry X.0 groups.
“Upskill’s Skylight platform provides a critical piece in delivering on the promise of extended reality in the enterprise, dramatically improving productivity and performance while increasing safety, and helping to reduce the distance between workers and subject matter expertise in a highly effective manner,” said Paul Daugherty, chief technology & innovation officer at Accenture.
Upskill’s funding round comes as the enterprise AR market heats up, as 2018 is expected to be a pivotal year for the technology. Gartner forecasts “By 2020, augmented reality solutions will be adopted across multiple business functions in 30% of large enterprises as part of their digital transformation.” Related, ABI Research estimates smart glass shipments will grow to 32 million in 2022 with a 171 percent CAGR.
With the new capital, Upskill is continuing to build its team and worldwide presence to meet the needs of its Global 2000 industrial customer base. The company will also invest in additional product development as the industry continues to evolve and attract companies seeking the full spectrum of AR experiences to drive performance improvements across their operations.