A Munich-based startup, Konux, that uses artificial intelligence (AI) to operate railway networks and minimise train delays has raised $80M (approx €66.3M) in its Series C round of funding.
Investors in this round
This round was led by impact investor Sanno Capital. It also saw participation from Athos, the investment vehicle of billionaire brothers Andreas and Thomas Struengmann. Athos is the largest shareholder in Covid-19 vaccine maker BioNTech.
In addition, existing investors also invested in this round including DIVC, and leading Silicon Valley VC New Enterprise Associates (NEA) and NEA’s co-founder and former Chairman Dick Kramlich.
Use of the capital
Following this financing round, the company claims to be the largest AI scale-up in Europe in the field of sustainable transportation. Konux founder and CEO Andreas Kunze says, “Rail will play a major role in our long journey to lower CO2 emissions. To achieve this, rail infrastructure needs to be upgraded and digitised in order to become the mobility choice of tomorrow. Konux is perfectly positioned to become a global market leader in rail’s digital transformation.”
The raised capital will be used to hire 100 data scientists and software engineers to develop and expand Konux’s product portfolio, tripling its staff to 300. Andreas Kunze mentioned, “We will create more than a hundred new and super exciting jobs, especially in data science and software engineering to significantly expand our product portfolio and AI technological leadership. Additionally, we will boost our global market footprint.”
The company was founded in 2014 by Andreas Kunze, Dennis Humhal, Maximilian Hasler, and Vlad Lata. Konux is an AI scale-up, transforming railway operations for a sustainable future.
It combines Machine Learning and IIoT (Industrial Internet of Things) to deliver Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solutions for operation, monitoring, and maintenance process automation and in the process increase capacity, reliability, and cost-efficiency. The company claims, the clients today are reducing their maintenance expenses by +25%.
Currently, the company is active in ten countries, both in Europe and the most important rail markets in Asia.
In December 2020, the Munich-based AI start-up won the underlying DB tender for the condition monitoring of switches as critical elements of the rail infrastructure. Both companies concluded a long-term framework agreement. Initially, 1,300 switches will be digitised so that passengers can travel more reliably by train on heavily congested lines. DB invested €15M in this stage of the project.
In February 2019, Konux raised €11.5M in an extension of its Series B round, which brought the total amount raised to €29M. The round was led by New Enterprise Associates (NEA), Upbeat Ventures, MIG AG and new investor Alibaba Group. With the funds, the company wanted to expand internationally, especially in China.
Since its inception in 2014, Konux has raised more than $130M (approx €107.6M), expanded to ten countries in Europe and Asia, and was selected by the World Economic Forum (WEF) as one of the world’s 30 most innovative start-ups and scale-ups worldwide.