Zürich, Switzerland: Nabtesco Technology Ventures (NTV) has invested into Sensyn Robotics, which develops drone-based inspection systems for industrial sites. The round, which was joined by ENEOS (existing lead investor), Bank of Mitsubishi UFJ, and Mizuho Bank, Ltd, will help Sensyn Robotics roll out automated solutions, “digital twins” of industrial assets and integrated maintenance and monitoring platforms.
Tokyo-based Sensyn Robotics helps its clients leverage drones to conduct inspections of complex industrial sites. The company matches clients with third-party drone manufacturers and curates monitoring processes across its customers’ sites. Its key sectors include energy infrastructure and construction, fields where visual data is crucial and manual inspections can prove challenging and expensive.
Sensyn’s specialization in next-generation clean energy sources like wind and solar suggests a solid growth trajectory as these sectors continue their rapid expansion. The International Energy Agency predicts that solar will become the world’s leading source of power by 2027. These new energy installations will benefit from drone-based monitoring that can pick up flaws like cracks and other damage before they derail operations.
These bright prospects for clean energy are emerging alongside maturation of drone technology for industrial purposes. Drones’ role as a cost-effective way to improve performance of industrial assets by catching defects and gathering data to map out upgrades and expansions is growing. This could propel the global drone monitoring and inspections market to expand nearly 15% per year between 2022 and 2027.
NTV, the venture arm of Japan-based industrial conglomerate Nabtesco, has been an active dealmaker in startups that are working to digitize heavy industry and is particularly interested in energy as its parent company races to go carbon-free by 2050 and commits to promoting solutions and technologies that have the potential to reverse climate change trends. The Sensyn Robotics deal was sourced by clean-tech venture capital pioneer Emerald Technology Ventures under its unique corporate venture capital-as-a-service mandate. Under this framework, Emerald manages all of NTV’s investment activity, aiming to provide the best value for collaboration with innovation vanguards like Sensyn Robotics.
“Corporates across the industrial landscape—especially fast-growing renewable energy companies—are actively seeking ways to reduce their monitoring costs and get more bang for the buck from their equipment,” says NTV Managing Partner Hiroshi Nerima. “Sensyn’s unique drone-based offering is an excellent way to do this. We are excited to support the company’s growth journey.”
“Emerging technologies give utilities and energy companies the potential to be safer and more efficient,” says Takuya Kitamura from Sensyn Robotics’s CEO. “We aim to enable reliable inspections of plant facilities through the use of digital platforms and robotics, leveraging big data and analytics to recognize and address anomalies faster, ultimately driving greater reliability and boosting productivity.”