March 26, 2024

Viam Announces Series B

Written by
Eliot Horowitz
CEO & Founder

Today, Viam announced the close of $45M Series B financing, an exciting milestone to fuel the company mission to accelerate AI, data, and innovation across robotics, IoT, and smart machines.

Funding will be used to deepen enterprise partnerships, advance our developer ecosystem, and create a powerful bridge between software and hardware. Read the full announcement here, and read below to hear directly from founder and CEO Eliot Horowitz.

Today is an exciting milestone for Viam. I’m incredibly grateful to our team and investors, excited about what’s ahead, and convinced more than ever that the inflection point in automation isn’t just coming, but it’s here and rapidly transforming the devices we use everyday. And Viam is not only pushing that future forward, but defining it.

Everywhere we look, we’re surrounded by devices that promise a lot, and deliver a little. From the beginning, our guiding thesis has been that if we can make it easier to write software for those machines — if we can empower developers with flexible, intuitive, and powerful tools — we’ll massively accelerate innovation in the real world. Now, it’s happening.

Viam is designed to be the modular, flexible, and powerful bridge between software, hardware, the cloud, and AI. We’re living in an exciting moment. And at Viam, we want to be the ones that make that technology possible on real machines, any hardware, robotics, and sensors in the physical world. We’re building the underlying core technology to make sure modern capabilities work seamlessly on the devices you use everyday.

Now, as we reflect on our growth to this point and Viam’s next chapter, I’m excited to share more about how the platform is evolving, our work with enterprises and industry partners, and where we see the future headed.

The power of Viam comes from exceptional breadth.

On customer calls, I find myself describing Viam as being weird in two distinct ways. The first is that we combine parts of the stack in one platform that typically aren’t combined together: low level hardware APIs, software algorithms, cloud connectivity, integrated fleet management, remote monitoring, tele-operation, predictive maintenance, mobile access, and AI. By combining these together, we let you build the right abstractions, and use them all the way up and down the stack, and not force you to use 10 different vendors that don’t speak the same language.

The second is that we are building a platform for industries that don’t typically get lumped together: IoT, robotics, smart home, and industrial automation. At Viam, we understand that these spaces all need a software platform that is mostly the same. The key is that they all need the same foundational capabilities Viam has.

To put this in context, I’m going to talk in general terms about three partners: one in insurance, one in industrial automation, and another in wildlife conservation. All very different spaces, typically quite distinct, all using Viam in very different ways, and, yes — all getting huge value from the platform because of its breadth.

From Data to Innovation: The Insurance Industry

The first use case I’ll share comes from the insurance industry, specifically rating drivers based on data from cars. Data is collected as people drive, and with that data, each driver is assigned a driver score. Based on that score, they can get better and worse insurance rates. This, of course, shows an interesting way real-world data collection is already changing how businesses operate.

But let’s push that innovation further. The next step is being able to easily work with that data in real time, and eventually to automatically take action to proactively prevent many kinds of bad outcomes that are the bane of insurers.

Let’s take a simple example from any home or business: the bathroom. Any bathroom is prone to all kinds of leaks and water damage, but there are easy ways to imagine how automation could powerfully mitigate costly outcomes.

The first step might be having a leak detector that can immediately alert someone — whether in the same facility, or remotely — that a leak is occuring. The next step might be to fix it automatically. Most bathrooms already have water shutoff valves. If you can detect a leak, or even recognize when someone leaves a faucet on accidentally, then it would be enormously helpful in preventing waste, avoiding burst pipes, and minimizing water damage if you could just automatically turn those valves off. That small action could prevent the massive expensive consequences of unattended or unwanted water flows.

A massive area of the insurance industry can be described by the idea that “things break, and accidents happen.” The possibility with Viam is that early detection and automated responses to unexpected events is a powerful driver of value, especially if you are in the business of risk avoidance and mitigation. 

Viam’s modular architecture, data management capabilities, and ability to interact with any physical device — in this case, for example, a basic shutoff mechanism — make this an easy place where Viam can drive huge value.

Unlocking New Value from Existing Assets: Predictive Maintenance in Industrial Automation

Let’s look at another customer example and take this idea even further: in the industrial automation space, Viam offers a step change impact in use cases benefiting from remote diagnostics and predictive maintenance.

Whether it’s a home HVAC or machines on an assembly line, machine downtime has a massive impact on people’s lives and livelihoods. Viam’s assertion — now becoming visible in the world — is that any kind of machine should be accessible remotely, completely securely, be able to provide enough data to diagnose issues, and ideally prevent any serious issues.

The data from machines should be collected such that models can be built to detect issues before they happen, thereby reducing downtime and maximizing uptime in ways that deliver huge value.

This is a typical scenario from my own experience: I had an issue at home with my air conditioning unit. I called the AC company.  They came out, plugged a computer into the AC for a bit, and figured out the issue. Then, they ordered the part. Two weeks later, they came back to fix the issue. Between customer service, diagnostics, and repairs, the process took weeks.

It’s pretty obvious why that is not an optimal way of thinking about AC maintenance. In my home, not having AC for a few weeks is an inconvenience. But imagine a hospital: that two-week delay between diagnosing and fixing a problem could be a life and death issue for patients vulnerable to extreme heat.

So now, let me describe how this kind of problem finds its solution with Viam. The AC should always be connected to a computer. The maintenance company should be able to securely login and diagnose any issue remotely. Beyond this, an even better system would have the AC recording and analyzing its metrics by default. There would be AI and machine learning models that predict when things will break. For example: imagine monitoring for clogged filters, and using pressure data to alert when a filter might need maintenance. Or, consider that motor temperature and current draw can detect when motors start to go bad or wear out. If the system can generate an alert that a motor is going to go bad soon, the part can be ordered and replaced before there is a critical breakdown.

The big idea here is that you can take an existing machine, and with Viam add modern capabilities that drastically improve its operational efficiency, effectiveness, and end user experience. Viam’s modular architecture, remote control, and AI and machine learning capabilities make it easy to build all these features into any group of machines.

Using AI and Open Data to Protect Marine Life

Another interesting, real-world use case of Viam came through in our recent announcement that we’re partnering with the Whale and Vessel Safety Task Force (WAVS) to establish an open-source data collection program to advance AI capabilities in detecting marine life. It’s a good example of how Viam can be used for open data to drive collaboration and transparency, as well as the unique and powerful ways that Viam brings AI to the edge.

Because of Viam’s open architecture, we’re able to collect data from many different sources independent of vendor or manufacturer, facilitate open and transparent sharing of the data for AI and machine learning model building, and enable a return pathway for those models to be delivered back to boats to assist in marine life avoidance.

And of course, yet again, that’s just the beginning. Imagine leveraging those return pathways to drive actuation in the real world, such as a boat slowing down or triggering an alert to passengers. Viam makes that possible, precisely because it’s designed to be that bridge between software and hardware, and has the unique ability to not only enable seamless AI on everyday devices, but also drive physical action in the real world.

Looking Ahead

So Viam is uniquely weird. It operates across what were once siloed ecosystems of IoT, robotics, smart home, industrial automation, and more, and it touches the technical stack in a breadth of areas from the lowest level APIs to fleet management, AI and machine learning, and mobile, all the way through to the cloud.

That combination of weirdness makes it powerful and useful.

Many of our customers see a “first adopter” competitive advantage opportunity when they start to grasp what Viam can do for them. Wherever their business is headed, Viam is helping them get their faster — sometimes a lot faster — because we’ve designed Viam to be abstract in the right ways:

  • Optionality: We’re not tying you down to components or code you don’t know if you’ll want to use for the long term, and there’s flexibility if projects change.
  • Innovative Value: We’re partnering hand-in-hand to deliver new capabilities to existing assets, or accelerate the creation of new assets, all of which can take advantage of the latest technology.
  • Developer Velocity: Viam is a modern, familiar, and appealing platform that developers want to use.

Does the above describe a technology and business that has a set of virtues worth betting on going forward?

We believe it does. Our customers are starting to believe it does. And with today’s new milestone, we’re excited to continue building towards a better future. We hope that if you aren’t yet familiar with Viam, you will soon believe it is as well.


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