Sixth Sense start-up spotlight: EyeFlow

Meet Eyeflow Mission: To democratize Artificial Intelligence EyeFlow is the no-code SaaS platform enabling anyone to build computer vision applications with AI in a simple, fast and intuitive way. The platform teaches machines to understand the real world and solve real problems, simplifying complex issues using trained data sets. The process can be customized according to your needs. It enables you to upload videos or images, identify and fill in what you want to detect, train the neural network and start using. Use cases can be anything from quality inspections (such as detecting wrinkles in leather car seats) to safety (identifying the presence of people on rail tracks or monitoring PPE during the daily routines of factory workers). We caught up with CEO, Alex Sobral de Freitas, to see how they are getting on with the Sixth Sense programme so far… What makes Sixth Sense stand out as a programme? We’ve recently done some other accelerators, one in Austin, Texas recently, and I think the main difference is that Sixth Sense is very focused on the market. There’s a lot of thinking about how we can tap into demand and get real customers for the start-ups. This is important for us because access-to-market and finding real opportunities is the hard part for us. I’m a nerd, technology and software development is easy for me, but selling isn’t. Sixth Sense is bringing us lots of opportunities, avenues and confidence about how we can access demand that is out there. What have you learned? We are a little different to many of the other start-ups on the programme because we are quite experienced. We have lots of white hair! So it’s hard to teach us things but definitely the mentoring has been useful – particularly around how to pitch our company. I have no experience in raising funds – it’s not a particularly common thing in Brazil, certainly not like it is in the US. With that in mind I need direction when it comes to what investors want to hear about. As I said, I tend to be quite a technical guy so it’s good to know that investors are often interested in different things, not just the tech. Have there been any particular highlights so far? I think this would be how the pitch training is making us think differently about how we communicate what we’re doing. It’s opening our minds to the idea of presenting to audiences with different worldviews to us. We’re starting to think about what we do in a social impact way rather than the technical. It’s actually changing our view of ourselves. Do you have a good relationship with the other cohort members? We are starting to get to know each other. Everyone is very busy with this start-up life – it’s 100 hours a week. Very hard! But I look forward to Demo Day when we will be in the same place and have an opportunity to have lunch together. I’d like to use

By |May 25th, 2022|

The dos and don’ts of fundraising with Mathieu Carenzo

The Sixth Sense cohort has been enjoying a number of fireside chats with industry experts throughout the programme so far. The latest was with serial entrepreneur, investor and lecturer, Mathieu Carenzo.  Carenzo is on a mission to empower entrepreneurs by bringing some transparency to the early-stage fundraising process. The conversation allowed us to hear some key insights on the ‘dos and don’ts’ of fundraising, the challenges of growth and scaling, and how to be a good storyteller.  Here are the main takeaways from the conversation: DO generate a sense of urgency for the investor. Bringing a concept or project that is unique and innovative, and building a narrative around the monetisation of that insight, is how you foster that feeling. DON’T be afraid to start with a strong hook. In a six-minute presentation, this will keep your audience alive for at least three minutes.  DON’T just say that your project is ‘good’ and worthy of investment. This has low credibility, as investors are already expecting you to say this. DO use quotes from a third-party source such as a customer, or a well-known analyst, or an expert in the field, which supports what you are pitching. DO use quantified data that shows your value proposition is effective to your customers. This is the strongest form credibility.  Do challenge assumptions – whether they’re positive or negative. It always equals progress.  DO personalise the story of your business. Start with a case study and work up to the macro number; anybody can empathise with how your product or service helped one singular customer’s life. DON’T just take the first offer that comes your way. Entrepreneurs should picture themselves as a surfer. You are waiting and waiting for a wave, and one comes along. The best surfer will know not to ride that wave and to wait because there are bigger and better ones on the way. DO establish different roles as your company grows. The role of CEO changes and the challenge is being able to master evolving responsibilities. DO keep focusing on funding by reviewing new opportunities every 12 to 18 months. Fundraising is a role in itself, so dedicating one co-founder to fundraising is useful. DO foster a positive company culture. CEOs that spend time ensuring their employees understand the company’s values will see growth development. It is not just lead by example, but lead by message and mission.  

By |May 24th, 2022|

Sixth Sense demo day: what to expect

Have you ever wondered what the future of manufacturing looks like? How the factories of tomorrow will work? Or how smart use of the world’s data might help to create a more sustainable future?  Sixth Sense from Hexagon is an open innovation platform trying to answer these questions and many more. Having chosen seven innovative smart manufacturing start-ups to be part of the first Sixth Sense cohort, Demo Day is an opportunity to see what they’ve all been working on. An opportunity to take a glimpse at the future of manufacturing.  On May 25th, the in-person and virtual event will see the Sixth Sense cohort go head to head. They’ll be presenting their ideas to an advisory board of industry experts in a bid to secure the support of Hexagon in bringing their product or service to a global audience.  The winner will be chosen on the day by the advisory board which consists of:  Milan Kocic, Head of Sixth Sense, Hexagon MI Dr Benjamin Farmer, Deputy Challenge Director, Innovate UK Elaine Warburton OBE, Entrepreneur & Investor Mark Bryant, Head of Manufacturing, BGF Drew Rogers, Senior Director, Corporate Development and M&A, Hexagon MI Attendees will have an opportunity to hear the board ahead of the pitches, as they discuss the innovation landscape and key issues facing entrepreneurs and businesses looking to scale.  Finally, the audience will be treated to a fireside chat from 'Reluctant Futurist,’ Mark Stevenson – a strategic advisor to governments, NGOs and corporates, and author of An Optimist’s Tour of the Future and We Do Things Differently.  In a world facing many challenges, Sixth Sense is placing all of its bets on the smart manufacturing space as having some of the answers. Join us as we hear from the start-ups who believe this too and think they can be part of the solution. Come and be inspired.  Register for the event here.

By |May 23rd, 2022|

Sixth Sense start-up spotlight: SmartParts

Meet SmartParts  Mission: Enabling organizations to unlock the full potential of additive manufacturing by introducing an intelligent material that is scannable, traceable, and cloud-connected. PrintParts is an additive manufacturing service and technology development company. Founder Robert Haleluk realized that traceability was a big issue in additive manufacturing and so developed SmartParts as a solution to manage, authenticate, and track additive materials and parts throughout their lifecycle. The goal is to increase the value of the part without affecting costs or the mechanical properties of parts. We caught up with COO, Cody Burke, to see how they are getting on with the Sixth Sense programme so far… How has Sixth Sense been different to other accelerators so far? “The Sixth Sense team has done a really great job of meeting us where we are in terms of our maturity as an organization. Many of the companies in the programme are at different stages which could make things tricky, but Hexagon has been really flexible in adapting the programme to fit the realities of individual companies. It’s been super useful to have realistic goals and the specific help we need to achieve them. I think a lot of programmes out there are a little more cookie cutter and not as customized to the unique needs of companies.” What have the highlights of Sixth Sense been so far? “I found that all the coaches, internal and external, have been really engaged and responsive. There’s a high level of buy-in, obviously they have their own day jobs but we've found all the coaches we've worked with to be extremely generous with their time and in making connections to potential customers and other people within Hexagon.” What has been the biggest thing have you learned?  “The most valuable thing we’ve learned (and are still learning) is how a company the scale of Hexagon operates with its huge breadth of technologies and customers. We’ve been given insight into how they see their solutions, how they bring new products to market, and how they think about integrations. There are plenty of takeaways for us as we seek to scale our own company.” How are you feeling in the lead up to Demo Day? “Good! We’ve got a lot of work to do but we’re happy with the insight we’ve had from the connections we’ve made at Hexagon. We’ve been iterating and now have clarity about what we plan to do on Demo Day now and what the expectations are. Good communication is key and the Sixth Sense team has been very open with us and provided clear guidelines during our weekly workshops. We’re excited!” Good luck on Demo Day, Cody and team!

By |May 17th, 2022|

Sixth Sense start-up spotlight: SMARTPM

Meet SMARTPM Mission: To maximize the productivity of assets (people, equipment, tools, IT) in machining companies – directing them towards the development of smart factories, which learn and adapt in real time to a changing environment in search of maximum quality, productivity, with greater autonomy and a minimum impact on the environment. To deliver on this mission SMARTPM has developed its MIC (Manufacturing Intelligence Core) platform: it is a software platform that orchestrates self-improving and autonomous manufacturing lines, offering real-time insights and increased productivity, improved profitability and greater flexibility. We caught up with founder, Jose Castellanos, to see how they are getting on with the Sixth Sense programme so far… How does Sixth Sense compare with other accelerators you have been on? “This is the first accelerator we have been part of with SMARTPM but I have experienced some with other companies I have launched and I think things are moving along very nicely with Sixth Sense.  “The team – Milan, Richard, Zoubida and Oliver – have been very accessible. They have created a very nice atmosphere within the programme which we appreciate a lot. The potential for valuable connections with other start-ups on the programme is strong and we’re looking forward to nurturing those further”.  “In some ways these relationships have come quite far into the programme – I see lots of synergies with the other companies but the opportunity to align efforts with them might have arrived late, which at the end is quite normal as we didn´t know each other five weeks ago” Half way through, what have you learned so far?  “We’ve had some meetings with internal Hexagon teams, such as the architecture and software teams, which have been super useful. The presenters were incredibly pragmatic and told us in no uncertain terms how they felt we could improve our offer. We’re still digesting the comments properly but it was all really useful.” What has been the highlight? “A highlight is probably the visibility we’re getting. One of our goals was to increase our traction in the market and get our name out there. We’re having lots of interactions with other businesses that is super helpful. The international nature of the programme is also fantastic– it’s really broadening our horizons. We’re looking forward to Demo Day in London for that reason.” What are you hoping to get out of the rest of the programme? “More interactions with Hexagon customers. We’d really like to increase engagement with Hexagon´s commercial network –  leveraging their capabilities. The way we see it, there is a clear win-to-win approach for both organisations and we can be the automation platform to boost Hexagon’s positioning in the creation of the factory floor of tomorrow—one that is self-sufficient, self-monitoring, self-optimising and self-repairing” Our product portfolio complements very well, to the extent that we have already integrated some Hexagon´s products, software based and hardware based, within our platform.  “We’re hoping to explore a little more about public relations and digital marketing. We can learn a

By |May 11th, 2022|

Hanadi Jabado: Five ways to stand out in a pitch

Hanadi Jabado is managing partner at Sana Capital. She sat on the judging panel for our Sixth Sense Pitch Day. Here are her take-aways from the teams that made an impression. The Sixth Sense judging day saw 13 smart manufacturing start-ups pitch to a panel of experts and I was delighted to be one of them. They all did extremely well and I was really impressed with their passion and energy. Here are some elements of the pitches that really stood out to me. 1. Commercial thinking  It was refreshing to hear pitches where making money featured high. Rather than getting lost in the details of the research and the science, they were making a real effort to illustrate how their products could be commercialized. Whilst it is good to be passionate about your innovation, investors want to know if you can back it up with the right business model – there comes a stage in the life cycle of the product development where return on investment is much higher on business model innovation than it is on science and technology innovation.  2. Good communication  Talking about deep tech and in-depth science can be difficult to a wider audience. I really appreciated those who were able to speak plain English – an even harder feat when English is not your first language. The most convincing pitchers where those did not hide behind scientific words and explained their innovation as simply as possible. We shouldn’t need a PhD in engineering to understand what you say when you pitch.  3. Resilience  One of the teams encountered severe technical difficulties and we had to stop their session and get them to restart from scratch later on. They did not let it put them off at all and, in fact, they came back even stronger after the interruption. I really liked this, I thought it was a great example of cool heads and strong resilience.  4. No assumptions  Some of the start-ups had pre-existing relationships with Hexagon and in those cases, there might have been a temptation to skip over some of the details because you think the judges already know a certain amount about you. Luckily, they did not. Assuming prior knowledge is dangerous in a pitch and you should always pitch to the people in front of you as if they don’t know anything about you.  5. Bring some diversity  Across the event, the diversity was rich with teams from across the globe – we had Indian, Chinese and Brazilian pitching companies together with European businesses, live across 10 time zones – I was a little bit disappointed that all the presenters were male and that the diversity that we were seeing across the 13 companies was not reflected within the individual teams. I like to work with senior management teams that have a vocation to be diverse, not just in gender, but also in ethnicity and in complementarity of skills and backgrounds.  

By |April 28th, 2022|
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