Poka Co-Founders Reflect on Raising $10M in Series A FundingThis last investment round marks the beginning of an exciting new phase for the company
Early in my career I was tasked with helping to open a new factory for my family business. Miles away from headquarters or the nearest similar production line, I was frustrated by how hard it was to leverage the expert knowledge I knew existed within the company. Compounding this problem was the fact that many of these experts were retiring at a rapid pace.
And so the idea for Poka was born. Since that day, Antoine and I have had a single focus, to put the power to learn and share knowledge in the hands of every factory worker.
A Milestone Achievement
Fast-forward a few short years to today, and we’re happy to share that we have closed $10M in Series A funding. To date Poka has now raised $17M.
This last investment round marks the beginning of an exciting new phase for the company. We are committed to supporting our growing global customer base with continued innovation, more integrations, and value-add partnerships.
This milestone reflects the real value Poka is delivering in today’s Smart Factory era. According to the National Association of Manufacturing (NAM), the skills gap is cited as the #1 business concern among manufacturers. With 78M U.S. employees set to retire in the next 10 years, and the growing pace of automation demanding a more skilled worker, manufacturers are struggling to find, attract and hire the right talent. Poka addresses the skills gap by facilitating the transfer of knowledge from retiring workers, expediting new operator onboarding and increasing worker versatility.
As a couple of millenials ourselves, Antoine and I are confident that Poka can also help attract a younger workforce that would consider industrial jobs in a modern, digital factory that offers more autonomy and empowerment in their daily work.
As we continue to move the industry forward, we bring with us all we have learned and continue to learn from our customers. For instance, we have learned that change is hard — and the transformative nature of Poka is at times disruptive. In every implementation, we always encounter at least one sceptic — doubting that Poka will be adopted or deliver the benefits it claims.
What keeps us motivated and passionate is hearing the feedback from the sceptics a few months after using Poka. Like one mechanic shared in an interview, “I’m not very technical so at first I didn’t think Poka was going to be practical. But now I use it every day and if I don’t have it on me, I’m lost.”
We want to thank our customers, the Poka team, our families and investors who have gotten us to this stage. Without your support and shared vision, none of this would be possible. We are looking forward sharing the next steps with you and moving forward amongst this ever-growing industry.
Photograph by Eva Blue
Before starting Poka, Alex held a variety of positions during his tenure at Leclerc Group, a leader in the snack manufacturing industry, including the Director of Continuous Improvement for the United States Division. His experience at Leclerc led to the creation of Poka in response to the challenges of sharing knowledge across plants and shifts. He now oversees the business operations of Poka and through his understanding of market needs, contributes to product strategy. Alex holds a Bachelor in Business Administration and a Masters in International Business at Hult International Business School.