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6 startups and companies in manufacturing innovation to watch in 2022

In this article, we take a look at some of the most prominent and promising innovative manufacturing startups and companies working to innovate the production of goods.
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The manufacturing industry is probably one of the slowest industries to adopt digitalization trends. According to a recent survey made by L2L, a digital platform for manufacturers, only 24 percent of manufacturing companies today have a digital transformation strategy.

However, with the emergence of Industry 4.0, the past few years have also seen an increasing number of startups working to innovate manufacturing – from workflow automation, marketplaces for engineers, to implementing technologies such as machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence in production processes.

In this article, we take a look at some of the most prominent and promising innovative manufacturing startups and companies working to innovate the production of goods.

Gideon Brothers –  Croatia

Founded in 2017, this Croatian startup is developing an AI-powered robot for various industrial applications. Its first product is an autonomous indoor transport vehicle intended for logistics and manufacturing purposes.

As Gideon Brothers explain, these mobile robots quickly adapt to complex manufacturing or warehousing environments and labor variability without the need for infrastructure changes.

The startup also aims to automate and orchestrate the most complex industrial workflows by using scalable and easy-to-use intelligent material handling solutions powered by AI and 3D vision. Notable examples in the industry include logistics giant DB Schenker, which used Gideon Brothers’ autonomous mobile robots to streamline the supply chain for some of their clients.

In 2021, Gideon Brothers raised $31M in a Series A investment round. The company said that it plans to use the funds and to accelerate the development and commercialization of its mobile robots, as well as to expand its operation across key markets in Europe and the US.

KFactory – Romania

KFactory is a Romania-based Industry 4.0 startup which aims to revolutionize the manufacturing industry by reinventing the operational processes while using technology such as ML and AI.

Providing analytics solutions as well as AI tools such as its team “Virtual Engineers”, the startup managed to raise €600K in 2021, as it aims to expand its operations in the DACH (Germany, Austria, Switzerland) region this year.   

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Founded in 2020, last year KFactory also launched its Green Virtual Engineer tool, which is a part of its innovative digital platform and monitors carbon footprint sources directly from factories.It uses AI to recommend best practices for reducing emissions.

Depia Automations – Greece

Thessaloniki-based Depia Automations was founded in 2016, and specializes in solutions for industrial, energy, and building automation.

The Greek startup offers automation solutions, software engineering and software development, robotics, customization and vertical solutions, research, as well as modeling and development of industrial devices.

While the company hasn’t disclosed about having any funding rounds yet, currently it has a specialized staff of 20 employees. Depia is working on projects in Greece and abroad in the field of manufacturing, but has also expanded to the industries of energy and pharmaceuticals as well.

INEA – Slovenia

INEA is a Slovenian company in the field of automation, process control and manufacturing informatics, operating in the field of industry and buildings.

Founded in 1987, the company has a long tradition and is the leading Slovenian company in the field of automation. It has more than 50 employees and develops, designs, manufactures, installs, commissions and provides support for industrial automation, management and control systems.

The company also has strong experiences in research project management and in the last few years, it has been involved in more than 20 European and national research projects in the field of developing advanced control algorithms and designing of advanced controllers for economic, robust and safe manufacturing.

ThingsLog – Bulgaria

ThingsLog is a Bulgaria-based startup that offers a complete solution for measurement, monitoring and alarming of water, gas and electricity consumption. As the startup explains, the idea behind it was born due to the high bills for electricity that people in Bulgaria were getting at the time.

Founded in 2017, the company manufactures low power multi-channel data loggers with various radio technologies such as GSM, NB-IoT (NarrowBand-Internet of Things) and LoRa (Long Range Radio). Its solutions are also used in markets such as agriculture and for monitoring of critical buildings and equipment.

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At the beginning of the year, ThingsLog raised  €1M in a seed round, as it plans to expand its operations and to further develop its product.

Spacefre – North Macedonia

Spacefre is an engineering marketplace based in North Macedonia which matches engineers with different companies and enables them to work for global technology brands and companies.

Founded by engineers and entrepreneurs Zhivorad and Andrej Serafimoski in 2021, the Spacefre platform is crafted to meet each engineer’s needs individually and help them obtain the best possible work position by matching them with manufacturing companies and projects looking for specific talents.

The startup is currently in its pre-seed round, as it looks to launch its platform first on the market in North Macedonia, and then wider in the region as well.

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Bojan is The Recursive’s Western Balkans Editor, covering tech, innovation, and business for more than a decade. He’s currently exploring blockchain, Industry 4.0, AI, and is always open to covering diverse and exciting topics in the Western Balkans countries. His work has been featured in global media outlets such as Foreign Policy, WSJ, ZDNet, and Balkan Insight.