Swiss AI startup saving Swiss chocolate secures $16M

Swiss AI startup saving Swiss chocolate secures $16M

From semiconductors to chocolate, you’d be surprised how many products are already made with the help of AI.  

And it’s precisely on the factory floor where Swiss startup EthonAI is looking to gain a foothold in this emerging market. 

“Manufacturing is at a critical juncture, and companies that fail to adapt with AI risk falling behind,” said CEO Julian Senoner, who co-founded EthonAI after completing his PhD in AI systems at ETH Zurich.    

The budding company uses AI to spot problems in production lines. The idea is to help factories reduce the number of defective products that end up being thrown away.

EthonAI does this using a so-called Manufacturing Analytics System (MAS). The programme uses AI algorithms to sieve through huge data sets collected by sensors placed at several points along the production line. 

The system then displays the most important bits of data on a dashboard, in a format that is easy for factory managers to peruse.

The university spin-out has today secured $16mn to scale up its tech. The funding round was led by  European VC Index Ventures which has previously backed the likes of Meta, Slack, and Dropbox.   

EhtonAI already counts a number of major manufacturers among its customers, including German energy giant Siemens and drugmaker Roche. 

The startup’s software is even running at three factories belonging to one of the world’s most beloved chocolate brands: Lindt & Spruengli. For instance, AI helps production managers fine-tune machine temperatures or product moulds to avoid dips in quality before they occur.  

Modern factories are covered in sensors that measure everything from the temperature of a boiler to the vibration of a motor. “But data is only valuable if you can digest it, make sense of it, and use it to drive decisions,” said Katharina Wilhelm, partner at Index Ventures.

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