APEX Ventures, Bayern Kapital and HTGF invest in robotics start-up sewts
Munich / Bonn / Vienna — Artificial intelligence for the textile industry: The robotics start-up sewts has closed a seed financing round totaling seven figures. sewts is developing a software-as-a-service (SaaS) solution that helps industrial companies automate processes in which easily deformable materials are processed, for example textiles or films. Initially, the technology will be used in industrial laundry lines; in the long term, cross-sector applications are planned in the textile industry as well as in the high-tech sector. APEX Ventures, Bayern Kapital and High-Tech Gründerfonds (HTGF) participated in the round. The existing investor Initiative for Industrial Innovators and a consortium of experienced business angels have also confirmed their commitments.
In the manufacturing and processing industries, there are many robotics and AI-based solutions for handling solid, dimensionally stable raw materials such as metals. The automation of manufacturing or assembly processes in which, on the other hand, easily deformable materials are processed still poses enormous problems for computers and image processing programs today, because the demands on the required computing power are too great. Currently available robots and gripping systems can therefore only inadequately perform such simple operations for humans, such as gripping a towel or piece of clothing. Founded in 2019, Munich-based sewts GmbH and its approximately 20 employees have therefore developed innovative control and image processing software that enables robots to predict the behavior of shape-unstable materials during gripping in real time based on intelligent algorithms developed in-house. At the core of the technology is a unique approach to generating artificial training data for AI, which is based on high-precision, so-called finite element method (FEM) simulations. With the help of this novel approach, sewts can automate a wide range of industrial processes that were previously technically unfeasible — such as the handling of textiles or carbon fiber and semi-finished products.
Wide range of applications
Industrial laundries, for example, benefit from this technology: individual steps, such as sorting dirty textiles or placing laundry in folding machines, still have to be carried out there by hand. Many laundries can hardly find employees for this strenuous work. With sewts, this step can be automated by robots. In the long term, this should increase the productivity of a textile washing line by up to 100 percent, while allowing the laundry to use its personnel capacities more effectively.
The areas of application for this innovative technology are constantly expanding and are already opening up completely new production possibilities in the textile industry, for example in the manufacture of clothing. In the long term, the ambitions of the three founders Alexander Bley, Tim Doerks and Till Rickert also include opening up other manufacturing sectors, for example in the processing of films and foams. They plan to invest the new financial resources in the further development of their software into a series product, the expansion of the development team and the acquisition of medium and long-term integration and sales partners.
“We are very pleased to have convinced capital-strong and technologically savvy investors of our disruptive technology. Their cross-industry market expertise will be of great help to us on our way to series production,” says sewts co-founder and co-managing director Alexander Bley.
Dr. Wolfgang Neubert, partner at APEX Ventures, says: “We were particularly impressed in the team by the combination of high professional expertise, technical creativity and the ability to think quickly into industrial applications of the sewts technology and derive their economic impact.”
Dr. Georg Ried, Managing Director of Bayern Kapital, says: “sewts has the potential to significantly simplify processes in a wide range of industries that could not previously be automated — a scalable technology from which many companies could benefit, particularly in the industrial nation of Germany, but also beyond. An exciting innovation project in the field of robotics that we are happy to support in its upcoming growth steps.”
Johannes Weber, investment manager at High-Tech Gründerfonds, says: “With deep learning algorithms, sewts enables the sophisticated handling of textiles with industrial robots for the first time. Through the scalable SaaS business model, we see high potential to address broad user groups and look forward to supporting the start-up on this path.”
Founded in 2019, Munich-based sewts GmbH is a provider of innovative control and image processing software that pushes the boundaries of robotics in the processing of easily deformable materials. sewts has developed a unique technology that uses high-precision finite element method (FEM) simulations to efficiently train machine learning algorithms. The intelligent software solution enables countless applications in industrial automation, such as the processing of textiles in industrial laundries or the production of clothing. The company is backed by APEX Ventures, Bayern Kapital, High-Tech Gründerfonds, Initiative for Industrial Innovators and a number of highly experienced business angels. www.sewts.de
About APEX Ventures
APEX Ventures is a European venture capital investor focusing on deep-tech start-ups with unique IP and extraordinary market potential. APEX Ventures has completed numerous investments with its funds in Europe as well as in the U.S., including in the areas of AI for medical applications, quantum and laser technology, autonomous mobility, computer-based vision, and digital forensics. APEX Ventures is in close collaboration with the founding teams to work together on go-to-market strategies and accelerate international growth. For an effective selection of talented teams and their best possible support, APEX Ventures is in close exchange with academic institutions, entrepreneurship programs and other international VC partners. www.apex.ventures
About High-Tech Gründerfonds
The seed investor High-Tech Gründerfonds (HTGF) finances technology start-ups with growth potential. With a volume of around EUR 900 million spread across three funds and an international partner network, HTGF has supported more than 600 start-ups since 2005. His team of experienced investment managers and start-up experts supports the young companies with know-how, entrepreneurial spirit and passion. The focus is on high-tech start-ups in the fields of digital tech, industrial tech, life sciences, chemistry and related business areas. Almost EUR 3 billion in capital has been invested in the HTGF portfolio by external investors in more than 1,700 follow-on financing rounds to date. In addition, the fund has already successfully sold shares in more than 120 companies. www.htgf.de