Y Combinator-backed Irish startup Protex AI secures €18.1M, plans US expansion

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Protex AI, a Y Combinator-backed Irish company that aims to prevent workplace accidents before they happen, announced on Sunday that it has secured $18M (approximately €18.1M) in seed and Series A round of funding. 

The round was led by Notion Capital, with participation from Playfair Capital, Elkstone, and Firstminute Capital. Flexport and SCOR Ventures made strategic investments in the round.

The Dublin-based company says it will use the funds to expand its commercial and engineering teams to meet the demands of the global market. 

The company employs around 20 people and plans to add 30 more in 2023. The capital will also help Protex AI expand its US market operations.

Dan Hobbs, CEO of Protex AI, says, “The strategic investment from both Flexport and SCOR Ventures is a clear indicator that there’s a need for technology-based solutions to improve safety standards in industry. Protex AI has a compelling proposition to address this need. With the cost of workplace accidents estimated at $171 billion in the US alone due to losses in productivity, insurance, and medical expenses, safety technology is a growing space as companies look to prevent huge losses in costs and time.” 

‍ “The investment is also a strong endorsement that the technology we’re building at Protex AI is the right solution to revolutionise modern safety practices. I thank our existing shareholders for their support and welcome new investors to our business,” he adds. 

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Protex AI: What you need to now

Founded by Dan Hobbs and Ciarán O’Mara, Protex AI is a cutting-edge technology that utilises artificial intelligence and computer vision to help identify unsafe behaviour in work settings. 

By using Protex AI, companies can help protect their workers and ensure their workplace is safe. Protex AI says it is easy to use and works with existing CCTV systems to continuously audit safety procedures.

According to the company, its platform leverages the existing domain knowledge of H&S teams, allowing them to configure flexible safety rules.The software then autonomously and continuously performs safety audits, identifying risk and danger before it becomes a problem.

The data can be accessed in the Protex AI reporting engine, which can then be used for internal safety meetings. 

Currently, the company works with blue-chip brands such as leading UK retailer Marks & Spencer (M&S).  

Investor

Based out of London, Notion Capital is a Venture Capital investment firm focused on European SaaS and Cloud, with more than 100 investments.

Kamil Mieczakowski, Principal of Notion Capital, says, “One of the silver linings of the Covid pandemic has been the increased appreciation for the blue-collar workers whose health and safety is now one of the key discussion topics inside the corporate board rooms. Protex is a leader in the proactive safety technology market and has quickly become the go-to platform for leading global enterprises wanting to achieve health and safety excellence. The founding team’s deep domain expertise in building computer vision products has already translated into an extraordinary level of traction for a company of their stage, and we’re excited to be investing in the business to drive the further development of their platform and to put more resources into marketing, sales and increasing the company’s global footprint.”

Playfair Capital is a pre-seed fund that invests early in just six companies a year. Playfair is also sector agnostic and invests across the UK and Europe. 

Henrik Wetter Sanchez, Principal of Playfair Capital, says, “Protex AI’s product is enabling a generational shift in the industry from reactive to proactive health and safety. This will bring safer, more reliable, and cheaper workplaces to workers and companies worldwide, turning EHS teams from cost centres to profit centres.”

‍Will Thorne, Head of SCOR Ventures, says, “Our priority at SCOR Ventures is to build a portfolio of diversified and innovative solutions that control and manage risk. Our partnership with Protex helps SCOR’s cedants and specialty insurance clients manage risk in a meaningful and proactive way.”

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