ANN ARBOR, Mich., Dec. 20, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- SkySpecs, leading provider of Operations & Maintenance solutions for the wind energy industry, today announced that it's closed a $17 million series C round. The Ann Arbor-based company experienced a heavy-growth year, tripling its staff, significantly building out its solutions offerings for the wind energy industry, and reaching a landmark 30,000 fully autonomous inspections. SkySpecs set its sights on using technology like AI, machine learning, robotics, and software, to optimize operations & maintenance in order to enable better decision making about repairs and proactive planning. Their mission is to continue driving change in the renewable energy sector such that technology and automation enable higher levels of global accessibility.
The round was led by McRock iNFund LP, an Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) venture capital fund managed by McRock Capital. Other new investors in the round included Equinor Energy Ventures, and Evergy Ventures, the non-regulated investment affiliate of Evergy, the parent company of Kansas City Power & Light Company (KCP&L) and Westar Energy, alongside participation by existing investors including Statkraft Ventures, UL Ventures, Capital Midwest Fund, and Venture Investors . The investment follows on the heels of an $8 million series B in January of 2018, and brings SkySpecs total raised to $29 million.
"As a leader in the wind energy technology space, the SkySpecs' team presented a unique mix of skills across software analytics and robotic technology, combined with deep focus in a vertical market that is undergoing change," said Scott MacDonald, co-founder and managing partner at McRock. "SkySpecs is pushing the frontier of data-driven decision making to add technological advancements to the way turbines are kept healthy and technology is employed."
"Utilities are increasing clean energy production, shifting generation mix toward sustainable sources. Wind energy will play a key role in making the United States' generation mix sustainable," said Brock Smith, Managing Director of Evergy Ventures. He continued, "as wind fleets get older, keeping costs low will require solutions like SkySpecs' Horizon platform that enable damage detection, predictive maintenance, and automation of what are labor intensive tasks today."
SkySpecs views the raise as pivotal, coming at a time when both renewable energy and the key players involved in its rapid growth, are ready to invest in adopting a more streamlined, data-driven approach to maintaining their fleet of wind turbines, which now require closer attention and more predictive maintenance as they age.
Simin Zhou, Corporate VP & Managing Director of UL Ventures said, "Wind farms require intelligent maintenance in order for wind to be a main source of sustainable energy. The SkySpecs Team shares our vision and has the technical and operational depth to develop the intelligent maintenance solutions that are needed."
CEO Danny Ellis says that the capital infusion will support several important initiatives including doubling the team in both the United States and Europe, continuing to develop the functionality of Horizon, their asset management solution that enables smart repair planning, and to offer autonomous wind turbine inspections across the world. "This investment is a reflection of our commitment to both our customers and the renewables sector. We are thrilled to welcome McRock and all of our investors to our team and are grateful for their confidence in what we believe will be a tide change for renewable energy."
"This round and our continued momentum highlights how massive the need is to streamline operations & maintenance for renewable energy," said Tom Brady, co-founder and CTO of SkySpecs. "Our newest investors bring a depth of experience and share our vision of robotically-run wind farms. Our new funding will fuel continued product innovations that will make our vision a reality."
About SkySpecs - SkySpecs automates the operations and maintenance of wind energy assets through robotics, predictive analytics software, and industry expertise to enable better decision making and a higher degree of transparency into operational planning over the lifetime of a fleet. Using SkySpecs' suite of solutions, unplanned downtime is minimized and total production potential increases, making renewable energy more accessible to the world. SkySpecs has offices in Ann Arbor, MI and Amsterdam, Netherlands, and currently operates in 19 countries on 5 continents. Visit https://skyspecs.com or follow on twitter @skyspecs
About McRock Capital – McRock is the first dedicated Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) venture capital fund focused on the intersection of sensors and software in large industrial markets. The McRock team has a unique background of building high-growth venture-backed IIoT companies while also having worked in the power, water, oil and gas industries. McRock is backed by several leading institutional investors as well as Cisco Systems, Caterpillar, Shell, and Électricité de France (EDF).
About Equinor Energy Ventures – Equinor Energy Ventures is a $200 million corporate
venture fund dedicated to investing in attractive and ambitious growth companies in renewable
energy. The fund was established in 2016 as part of Equinor's business within renewable energy and low carbon solutions. Equinor is developing as a broad energy company and is building material offshore wind clusters in the UK, the US and in the Baltics. Visit https://www.equinor.com/ and follow on Twitter @Equinor
About Evergy Ventures -- Evergy Ventures - formerly known as GXP Investments (GXPI) - is the non-regulated investment affiliate of Evergy, Inc., the parent company of Kansas City Power & Light Company (KCP&L) and Westar Energy, Inc. Our investment portfolio includes a wide range of businesses, and we are particularly focused on exploring unique opportunities that are aligned with Evergy's core mission to foster energy that moves us forward. Our well-respected team of investment professionals has deep experience in both regulated and non-regulated energy solutions as well as investments, entrepreneurship and business strategy. www.evergyventures.com
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