Sensata platform that helps physical infrastructure companies map and visualize all their data has raised $20.5 million in a Series B funding round.
Founded in 2015, Sensat is one of the so-called “digital twin” software companies serving construction, mining, energy and similar industries with tools to replicate their physical footprint in the digital sphere. It’s all about converting the built world into a format that machines can dissect to generate real-time insights into everything that happens on the ground.
The digital twin was built using data collected from physical sensors attached to assets, wearables, satellites, lidar and drones, among other publicly available data sets such as traffic.
For example, the British water company United Utilities recently started a pilot project with Sensat to automate the process of detecting water leaks, by combining thermal data captured by drones with high-resolution photogrammetry to build an algorithm that predicts where leaks might arise.
Ultimately, it’s all about helping companies better plan and manage major infrastructure projects, assess risk, predict outcomes, and optimize efficiency before construction work even begins.
While not a new concept, digital twinning technology has become a major attraction for investors around the world, with companies such as Disperse, PassiveLogic and SiteAware all increase about $15 million each in recent months. Elsewhere, Amazon’s cloud juggernaut AWS last year launched IoT TwinMaker, a service that allows companies to easily create digital twins of real-world systems.
It’s worth noting that this all ties into the burgeoning metaverse movement, which at its core revolves around transporting the physical world into a virtual environment. But with Sensat and his ilk they are at least working on commercial implementations that Meta can only dream of for the time being.
Infrastructure as a service
For now, Sensat had raised about $15 million in funding, including a 2019 $10 million Series A round led by Chinese tech titan Tencent. The company’s latest $20.5 million financing round was led by National Grid Partners (NGP), the investment arm of British multinational energy giant National Grid – a strategic investment if there ever was one.
Indeed, Sensat said it plans to use its new cash injection to double down on infrastructure projects that specifically include energy, telecommunications and rail. But National Grid’s presence and experience with the US market will also be vital for Sensat as it seeks to expand its reach further across the Atlantic.
James Dean, co-founder and CEO of Sensat, said it has been deployed on infrastructure projects worth more than $150 billion since its commercial launch in the summer of 2021.
“Civil infrastructure is an inherently physical industry that lacks the automation and transparency that online industries have transformed,” Dean said in a statement to londonbusinessblog.com. “Civil infrastructure, which accounts for about 8% of global GDP and the backbone of every global economy, plays a vital role in societal development and our daily lives. This gigantic industry is one of mankind’s oldest and will remain here as long as we exist. But right now, it is undergoing seismic structural changes that are exposing latent opportunities like those of the past two decades dwarfed.”