Schneider Electric Invests in PokaFinance round closed during COVID-19 - a sign that connected workers are essential for business resilience
Antoine and I are happy to share that Poka has closed a strategic investment round led by SE Ventures, the venture capital arm of Schneider Electric. This partnership will help accelerate digital transformation in factories around the globe.
SE Ventures is based in Menlo Park, CA with $565M under management, providing risk capital to big ideas and bold entrepreneurs who can benefit from Schneider Electric’s deep domain expertise, R&D assets and global customer base.
The timing of this announcement is noteworthy for many reasons.
Firstly, the connected worker space is taking off. Manufacturers are investing heavily in workforce development as part of their strategic priorities. According to Deloitte’s 3rd Annual Industry 4.0 report, training is the number one investment priority for manufacturers in 2020. And according to Polaris, the global connected worker market is expected to grow to USD 8.9 billion by 2026.
Secondly, the current global pandemic has highlighted the need to support agility, efficiency, and autonomy in frontline workers. Since January we’ve heard from our user community how Poka has been an essential part of their physical distancing response plans by offering an alternative to on-the-job shadowing, in-person meetings and paper forms and documents.
Finally, the manufacturing workforce is facing a widening skills gap caused in part by workers with decades of experience, entering retirement. In 2019, The National Association of Manufacturers estimated that one-quarter of the industrial workforce was 55 years or older.
For all these reasons, factories around the world need to accelerate their digital transformation in order to survive and thrive in these changed times.
With Poka, factory workers are empowered to learn continuously, solve problems and share knowledge in real-time directly on the production floor – fostering a connected, engaged and autonomous workforce that supports safety, quality and productivity.
Together, Poka and Schneider Electric are able to offer our joint customers a faster and more complete path to digital transformation.
“Schneider Electric is dedicated to building a best in class ecosystem of partners and solutions to support industrial digital transformation,” said Mike Jamieson, Segment President for Consumer Packaged Goods at Schneider Electric. “Poka addresses workforce empowerment as a critical part of the digital journey.”
General Partner at SE Ventures, Grant Allen, added “The tools and systems used to communicate, capture and share knowledge in commercial production facilities are largely outdated, leaving workers without the necessary information to be effective and safe. Poka is bringing us into the digital age and together with Schneider Electric’s unique expertise and global reach will be an agent for much-needed frontline connectivity.”
Read the full press release.
This great news has been picked up and shared by a number of media outlets:
TechCrunch - "A workforce training app and software service for industrial companies, has added SE Ventures, the venture capital arm of the European energy and automation conglomerate Schneider Electric to its roster of backers."
Crunchbase - Canada’s Poka Raises $4.7M to Connect Factory Workers.
Private Capital Journal - Poka has new round of financing led by SE Ventures.
BetaKit - Poka closes $6.4 million CAN for connected factory worker platform.
Yahoo Finance - Workforce training app developer Poka adds strategic investor Schneider Electric.
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.