pi Ventures leads seed investment in industrial IoT startup SwitchOn
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SwitchOn, an industrial internet of things (IIoT) platform powered by artificial intelligence, has secured $1 million (around Rs 6.98 crore at the current exchange rate) in a seed funding round led by pi Ventures, a venture capital firm which focuses on deep-technology investments. 

Axilor Ventures, the early-stage investment firm and accelerator led by Infosys founders Kris Gopalakrishnan and SD Shibulal, and angel investors from The Chennai Angels also participated in the round.

SwitchOn, which is operated by The Abee Research Labs Pvt. Ltd, said in a statement that it will use the fresh funding for strengthening its technological infrastructure as well as expanding its team and market presence in India and other regions.

Founded in 2017 by Aniruddha Banerjee and Avra Banerjee, SwitchOn says it uses its proprietary algorithms to help manufacturing companies identify obstacles at the factory plant-level and improve equipment efficiency. 

Co-founder Aniruddha Banerjee said customers will benefit from its technological differentiators and expanded market presence. The company is a graduate of the Axilor Accelerator Program.

pi Ventures founding partner Manish Singhal said the firm decided to invest in SwitchOn based on its understanding of the underlying technology used in the industrial IoT segment. 

The investment in SwitchOn is at least the ninth deal for pi Ventures, which focuses on new technologies including applied artificial intelligence, IoT and blockchain. 

In August last year, the firm raised Rs 225 crore (around $31 million) for its debut fund, exceeding its initial target. The UK government’s CDC Group came in as a limited partner in August. 

In March, the firm led a $2 million (around Rs 13.8 crore) seed funding round in FrontdeskAI, which develops AI assistants for small businesses.

Similarly, in December last year, it invested $1 million in OweMe, a blockchain-based B2B payments platform owned by the London-based Sabstone Ltd.  

Deals in the segment

The IIoT segment in India has attracted interest from investors in recent months, as more organisations look to automate their processes and increase productivity.

Earlier this month, IIoT startup Syook raised an undisclosed amount in funding from Inflection Point Ventures, an investment initiative floated by a group of chief financial officers and finance professionals from India’s startup ecosystem.

In April, Altizon Systems Pvt. Ltd, which operates a platform to develop solutions based on IIoT, raised $7 million (around Rs 49 crore) in its Series A round of funding.

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