In 2018, Neil D’Souza, a software engineer by trade and previously the VP of product development at Thinkstep, realized that his more than decade-long effort to solve enterprise product challenges related to sustainability, compliance and risk have little influence. The way he saw it, it took too long, minimizing their influence on product design choices.
“Analyzing a car’s life cycle assessment, for example, could easily take a car company an entire year,” D’Souza told londonbusinessblog.com in an email interview. “Speed is important, otherwise the analysis will become a meaningless report.”
That frustration was the origin of his startup, maker site, which aims to produce near-instantaneous sustainability, compliance and risk impact assessments to inform business-level decisions. Makersite, D’Souza says, is an attempt to bridge the gap between experts who know what “good” looks like from an environmental, cost, compliance or risk perspective and decision makers with control over the product supply chain.
With more than 30 customers, including Microsoft, Cummins, and Vestas, and a balance sheet showing profitable operations in recent years, Makersite is starting to capture investor attention, raking in $18 million this week in a Series A round of participations. from Planet A Ventures. D’Souza says the installment — Makersite’s first next to “a few convertible notes”; the company was up to now – will be put to work with integrators and resellers and expand the size of Makersite’s team.
“There are many companies that specialize in solving cost, compliance, risk or sustainability challenges. The problem is they’re all in silos and the data they use is specialized in the people who work in those fields,” D’Souza said. “That makes our solution different. We are unique in the space because we are the first to solve the challenge of bringing multi-criteria decision analysis to non-experts.”
Using AI, Makersite maps a company’s product data with a materials and supply chain database, generating automated reports. The idea is to help companies achieve their sustainability goals, while minimizing costs and keeping compliance at the forefront.
The aforementioned database — which D’Souza says is one of the largest of its kind — allows Makersite to identify contextual relationships to automatically build a model of products and their supply chains. The models cover not only what a product is made of, but also how each part or ingredient is manufactured – all the way from the mining wells to the factory floor.
“[Makersite] allows a customer to submit a BOM for say a wind turbine, tell the AI it’s a wind turbine, answer a few questions (e.g. about power), and the system will automatically create a ‘cradle-to -grave’ model of that turbine located where it was made and where it will be built,’ D’Souza explained. “That allows you to optimize designs of specific elements of the turbine – such as the tower and nacelle – for locally available resources and infrastructure, such as recycling facilities, and understand the life cycle trade-offs and criteria, such as cost, risks and regulations. ”
As Makersite will grow its workforce from about 40 employees to more than 100 over the next 12 months, D’Souza says the focus will be on building the company’s sales and marketing teams to grow its business, with especially in the US and Europe. On the integration side, Makersite is investing capital in connectors for software such as Autodesk to deliver cost and environmental insights within computer-aided design platforms.
“There is a paradigm shift towards sustainable products driven by regulation, competition, customer demand and investment,” D’Souza said. “To do that, Makersite empowers procurement and product design professionals to make day-to-day decisions without the need for compliance, sustainability, cost, or risk experts.”