SOUTH AFRICA – DataProphet, a tech firm that specializes in artificial intelligence in the manufacturing sector, has raised a further US$6 million in a new funding round to fund its international expansion.

With a strong mining industry in the South African economy that has been built on mining, DataProphet has focussed on this sector, especially the foundry industry.

A partnership with Norican announced earlier this year hopes to accelerate the adoption of AI in the foundry industry. Norican is a leading foundry engineering and equipment company.

“Applying AI to the foundry industry will reduce energy consumption, increase yield and reduce waste,” said Norican Group CEO Anders Wilhjelm.

“What started as a commercial cooperation with DataProphet, developed into a partnership, and now we will also become a shareholder. We know foundries and how they work, DataProphet really knows AI, so we are truly excited about what DataProphet and we can achieve together.”

Norican is now in the process of rolling out the DataProphet applications to their full brand portfolio.

“South Africa will remain our engineering and operational hub as we have access to great talent. DataProphet however, is an international business, with hubs located around the world,” said Frans Cronje, CEO and co-founder of DataProphet.

“This funding round will enable DataProphet to develop locally located sales and support for customers and partners across the world.”

Two years ago, DataProphet raised venture capital funding from Knife Capital and has now raised a US$6 million Series-A funding round with Knife Capital following on, joined by the Industrial Development Corporation of South Africa (IDC) and Norican Group.

Cronje adds that “as manufacturers become more familiar with the value AI can create for them, they are realising that they must be careful to ensure they are not simply using AI for analytics, substituting scarce process engineers with even scarcer data scientists.

“Rather, to realise the full value of AI, they need to consider how AI can play into their smart factory plans. These technologies are key to achieving the goals of Industry 4.0 and allowing manufacturing plants to be far more responsive to the market demands without incurring additional costs.”

He says that “through the application of our technology, each and every one of our clients has reduced non-quality products by more than 50%”.

IDC head of new industries Christo Fourie says the future of industry involves “the capacity to collect, process and use data to improve the speed and quality of operational decision-making. Combining the AI capabilities of DataProphet with the vast number of manufacturers the IDC has funded and have access to, could fast-track the company’s growth while also extracting efficiencies from within our current investment portfolio”.

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