Industrial Voice Assistant Startup Datch Raises $10M
Voice assistant for industrial work startup Datch has closed a $10 million Series A funding round led by Blackhorn Ventures. Datch offers a “Voice-Visual” AI that converses with workers using natural language understanding to handle collecting and recording data. The startup plans to further expand its capabilities using the latest investment, which boosts its investment significantly after raising $3.2 million about two years ago to $16.2 million in total.
Industrial Voice AI
Datch performs much like Alexa or other consumer voice assistants in its interactions with workers. The difference is its specialization in work environments and tasks like coordinating information on work orders, logging problems and noting solutions. The AI can integrate input from workers with its own recordings and real-time data capture to formulate answers to questions asked in the future about similar problems. Datch started in manufacturing and energy but has begun opening up to other verticals as the AI is designed to be flexible enough for most industries. Demand for this kind of technology spiked in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic as industries rapidly adopted new technology and digital services.
“On top of the industry-wide post-COVID shift to digitization, we are going to see investments from the industrial sector further accelerate with the newly passed Bipartisan Infrastructure Law,” Datch CEO Mark Fosdike said. “And with an aging labor force coming into retirement faster than they’re being replaced, it’s imperative to get Datch into our customers’ hands faster, so they can vastly improve their operational efficiency through the use of a single voice-visual interface.”
Those teams using Datch’s service report up to 90% less time spent on paperwork, while data intake potentially quadruples. That’s a value attracting plenty of interest in combining conversational AI- and industrial activities. RAIN recently raised $11 million to further develop custom voice assistants for commercial and industrial fields, including vehicle service. The voice assistant might answer a question about measurements for a construction worker, explain the steps to repair a car or list ingredients for the special of the day for a fast-food line cook. Meanwhile, Microsoft is augmenting industrial AI with the virtual worlds of the metaverse using its HoloLens headset to immerse workers in a simulated workspace.