One of the most influential technology publications for senior enterprise executives in France, Journal du Net (JDN) has written a comprehensive profile of C3.ai, its vision and distinguishing capabilities, and its pioneering work with industry-leading organizations.
Read the translated article in English below, or view the original article in French: Internet des Objets: C3.ai leve 70 millions de dollars.
Internet of Things: C3.ai Raises $70 Million
The company specializes in the processing of data sent by connected devices. It is headed by one of the icons of high tech, Thomas Siebel, the inventor of CRM.
Compared with unicorns growing by the dozens in the collaborative economy or finance sectors, Internet of Things startups are still at the fetal stage. But there is one exception to the rule: C3.ai. This California company, founded in 2009, has developed a platform to manage the data generated by connected objects. It offers its clients (large organizations) a series of applications to process this information.
"Many companies that are trying to take a position in this market segment manage little data. Their customers, still in the 'proof of concept’ stage, have only installed a few hundred or thousands of connected devices. C3.ai manages in real-time industrial quantities of data, generated by more than 70 million sensors,” said Julien Groues, senior vice president EMEA of the company. This argument rings true in the ears of investors, who paid $70 million as part of a funding round in early September 2016, to support the commercial development of the young company. The company has collected $110.81 million since its inception, according to the U.S. site Techcrunch.
This investor confidence is due to C3.ai’s CEO, the self-made billionaire Thomas Siebel. Known to all in the high-tech field, he founded Siebel Systems in 1993, the company that created the first CRM software. The company was acquired for $5.8 billion in 2006 by Oracle (where Siebel was one of the first employees).
With 40 years of experience in the technology sector, this pioneer has a clear vision for the IT market and can detect sources of growth before anyone else. As early as 2009, he had sensed the potential of the Internet of Things. Utilities, which already had begun to connect their meters at the time, put him on the right track. These companies were the first customers of C3.ai.
"We have collected and analyzed more than 750 terabytes of data for the Italian electricity provider Enel, generated by sensors installed on almost all of its industrial assets. We are now performing the same work with the French company Engie," said the C3.ai CEO last June, who came to Paris to announce the signing of a partnership with the French group.
The company is also developing rapidly in other vertical markets, such as Industry 4.0. It processes the data sent by machines equipped with hundreds of sensors, which allow, for example, the measurement of temperature, vibration, engine power ... "These sensors send us information, often several times a minute. We combine all of it with static data, such as maintenance history or the date of installation of the device on the production line. Our machine learning system analyzes these data. It determines if the machine has a high, moderate, or low risk of failure,” explains Julien Groues. When they find it relevant, plant managers send a technician to repair the equipment before it fails. They also invest more wisely in equipment, by evaluating priorities better.
The C3.ai predictive analytics system, which learns from its mistakes, also interests companies from the world of finance (in particular, it helps to detect fraud). The start-up has more than 20 customers, such as Cisco and the U.S. Department of State. The start-up does not disclose its financial results, but the Harbor Research analyst firm estimated its annual revenue to be $50 million.