AI start-up DataProphet raises R166m funding | ITWeb

Andrea Böhmert, partner at Knife Capital and executive chairperson of DataProphet, and Frans Cronje, CEO of DataProphet.

Cape Town-founded artificial intelligence (AI) start-up DataProphet has completed its $10 million (R166 million) Series A funding round.

Venture capital firm Knife Capital led the round, joined by South Africa’s International Development Corporation (IDC) and Norican – a metal surface preparation and finishing equipment provider.

The funding provides DataProphet with the capital to invest in its industrial AI product set, while facilitating targeted growth in selected geographies and manufacturing verticals.

Knife Capital initially invested in DataProphet in early 2018 via its KNF Ventures Section 12J funding vehicle.

This latest round is the first investment made by Knife Fund III, the newly-launched fund supporting the international ambitions of African scale-ups.

Founded in 2014 in Cape Town, DataProphet enables manufacturers to step towards autonomous manufacturing through its AI-as-a-service offerings, which include the DataProphet Prescribe platform, which helps manufacturers to continuously optimise production without the human analysis typically required.

In 2020, the start-up company also received $6 million funding from Knife Capital, IDC and Norican.

This, after the company had established a partnership with Norican aimed at accelerating the adoption of AI in the foundry industry.

“Accelerating the international expansion of DataProphet, given the leading nature of its technology, is exactly the mandate of our new fund – and it couldn’t be more fitting for our first investment to be a follow-on investment from our existing cohort,” comments Keet van Zyl, co-founder and partner at Knife Capital.

Knife Capital’s Fund III is still open for investment and is backed by the International Finance Corporation, Mineworkers Investment Company, SA SME Fund and select family offices, and other credible financial institutions, says the company.

It explains that DataProphet positions industrials to evolve towards autonomous, energy-efficient production, optimising manufacturing performance.

“I am excited about the continued support DataProphet has received from Knife Capital,” says Frans Cronje, CEO of DataProphet.

“Going forward, we will use this additional funding to continue to accelerate and expand into new markets, build new relationships that are aligned with our machine builder strategy, and further our global expansion. Another important pillar is bringing in top talent to build on this momentum.”

Justin Larsen, CFO of DataProphet, elaborates: “Leading up to the finalising of this funding round, we’ve made great strides in our product development and gained additional momentum with our existing and new clients. We’ve also won several industry awards, acknowledging the progress that we’re making. These are strong indicators that the business is headed in the right direction.”

Andrea Böhmert, partner at Knife Capital and executive chairperson of DataProphet, says: “It is fantastic that the launch of Knife Capital’s Fund III allows us to continue supporting DataProphet in its journey to become the leading provider of impactful AI solutions for the manufacturing industry.

“The optimisation of manufacturing performance in the context of smart manufacturing is still in the early adoption cycle. The DataProphet team is world-class, as validated by the third-party recognition it receives, and as such, it is perfectly positioned to further entrench its leadership position in this fast-growing sector.”

DataProphet says it has tripled its team since Knife Capital’s initial investment, and has successfully built a recognised brand in the advanced manufacturing analytics market.

Its customer base has now expanded to the Americas, Europe and Asia. With this funding behind it, the company says growth will be further accelerated.