Upskill Raises Series B Funding from Boeing and GE Ventures
New financing accelerates Upskill's growth as it scales its Skylight industrial augmented reality (AR) application platform for enterprise wearables
WASHINGTON, April 5, 2017 - Upskill (formerly APX Labs), the leader in enterprise software for industrial augmented reality (AR) wearables, today announced it has secured Series B funding from Boeing and GE Ventures—two of Upskill's largest customers—along with existing investors including New Enterprise Associates (NEA), SineWave Ventures and others. This round of funding is a testament to the impressive results both companies have seen with the Skylight platform and the long-term potential market impact of Upskill's AR technology in industrial settings worldwide.
"Upskill is serving massive customers, who need an industrial AR application platform capable of scaling across their global workforce to drive agility and competitive differentiation," said Brian Ballard, co-founder and CEO of Upskill. "This capital will help us accelerate production and grow our engineering and customer solutions teams to support rapid increases in enterprise wearable deployments globally."
Boeing is currently deploying Skylight with AR glasses in multiple locations nationally to support a variety of applications across its manufacturing plants, maintenance and repair facilities and in distribution. In one pilot, conducted in a wiring harness assembly operations facility, results showed a 25 percent improvement in production time and improved first-time quality. Notably, Upskill is the first of two investments from Boeing HorizonX, also announced today.
"Upskill was a priority investment for our newly formed Boeing HorizonX group, as it puts into action our desire to harness innovative technology to drive efficiency, reduce cost and improve quality in our manufacturing as well as clearly having broad application and growth potential across industries," said Steve Nordlund, vice president for Boeing HorizonX. "We have first-hand experience on the value of Upskill's Skylight platform and believe the company's technology will sharpen and accelerate our pace of progress on key growth and productivity efforts, while we help evolve and enhance Skylight through real-world manufacturing applications."
GE saw a 46 percent increase in warehouse worker productivity during a first-time use of Skylight at a GE Healthcare MRI manufacturing facility. In another study conducted at GE Renewable Energy, a technician experienced a 34 percent productivity improvement while installing wiring into wind turbine top boxes. Other benefits include increased production quality, better utilization of employees and faster training for new seasonal workers. To date, seven different business units within GE are working with Upskill to deploy Skylight.
"Upskill offers innovative products that GE uses and finds valuable, which means we can pass onto our customers' efficiencies within their own operations," said Ralph Taylor-Smith, managing director for GE Ventures. "With Upskill, we can also support our Brilliant Factory strategy by offering technology that puts data to work in a transformational way, enabling workers to be more agile and effective in their jobs, be it in the factory, the warehouse or in our field service operations."
"The investment means that Upskill continues to be well-capitalized, enabling it to maintain its position as an industry leader and invest the resources needed for product superiority and commercial scale," said Dr. Magid Abraham, Executive Chairman of Upskill.
Like GE and Boeing, many other multinational companies are working with Upskill to drive efficiency improvements across their industrial workforce with an average performance improvement of 32 percent. Using Skylight on AR glasses, companies can address a variety of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) including productivity, quality, compliance, knowledge management and employee on-the-job training. This infusion of new capital will allow Upskill to focus on growing its team to support product development and customer solutions, expand its offerings and enhance its ability to deliver large-scale deployment of Skylight globally.
Upskill (formerly APX Labs) is the market leader in enterprise software for augmented reality devices in industrial settings. Trusted by the world's greatest companies, such as GE, Boeing, Rio Tinto, DHL, Merck, and Shell, our industrial application platform, Skylight, enhances the capabilities of hands-on workers to measurably and immediately improve business operations from the factory to the warehouse to the jobsite. By connecting workers to the information they need to do their jobs with greater efficiency and fewer errors, businesses become more agile and competitive through greater productivity, quality, and compliance. To learn more, visit upskill.io.