Japan’s Skydisc raises $6.5M to bring one-stop AI and IoT solution to various industries


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Fukuoka-based Skydisc, a Japanese startup focused on developing and offering a one-stop solution from artificial intelligence to IoT (Internet of Things), announced today that it has fundraised 740 million yen (about $6.5 million) in the latest round. It’s supposed to be a series A round. Investors participating in this round are Nissay Capital, DG Daiwa Ventures (the joint venture of Digital Garage and Daiwa Securities), Energy & Environment Investment, Yamaguchi Capital (the investment arm of Yamaguchi Financial Group), Kaga Electronics (TSE:8154), Dogan Beta (the investment arm of a Fukuoka-based financial consulting firm) and Archetype Ventures. For Skydisc, this follows their seed round raising 100 million yen (about $855,000) back in January of 2016 which Nissay Capital, Dogan and Archetype previously participated in too.

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Skydisc founder and CEO Osamu Hashimoto was onstage at the Toryumon startup event in Fukuoka in September.
Image credit: Masaru Ikeda

Since its launch back in October of 2013, Skydisc has been developing a variety of detachable sensor devices and the cloud for storing, then analyzing data from these devices. Offering products including SkyLogger (previously known as Ginga Box), the company’s flagship sensor product line-up, that allow users to choose up to three detachable sensors out of 14 different sensors to plug into a circuit board. Data acquired with these sensors can be monitored on SkyAnalyzer (previously known as Ginga Cloud), the company’s data management and analysis platform. In particular for the agricultural industry, Skydisc has already started offering an optimized package called Hatamori, literally meaning vegetable field keeper.

Starting off with connected sensors and the analytics cloud, the firm’s services have been further evolved so that they are playing an important role in automated oeprations, especially in the industries suffering from the lack of successors of skilled workers.

In the factory safety sector, Skydisc has introduced an AI- and IoT-powered machine fault detection system to a major power plant, succeeded in detecting faults with 95% accuracy. The firm, together with Kyushu University, has been conducting a joint research of automated fault detections around factory equipments and ball bearings, with the aim to improve the detection accuracy. The firm claims their technology is highly evaluated because of succeeding creating fault case data model by simulating from normal time data, which it’s told is the most difficult in the AI technique.

In the field of mechanical safety, Skydisc released a mobile app called Smart Choshinbo, literally meaning a smart auscultation rod, which allows users to predict possible faults and failures based on the sound collected with a smartphone. Going forward, the firm plans to provide it as part of a service package that enables users to predict possible faults and failures based on fluctuation data of vibration and electric current. They are collaborating with Kyushu Institute of Technology for a research applying AI and IoT into nursing care services.

Screenshots of Smart Choshinbo, the “smart auscultation rod” mobile app

Thanks to a high reputation to SkyAI, Skydisc’s IoT data analytics cloud, the company was recently approved by Nvidia, the world’s leading chip maker, as a partner for the latter’s AI and deep learning-focused startup incubator Nvidia Inception Program.

Skydisc uses the funds to secure AI engineering experts and business developers from Japan and the rest of the world, aiming to assign them to collaborative research and development with Kyushu University and Kyushu Institute of Technology.

Edited by “Tex” Pomeroy