ABB, a Zurich-headquartered technology company specializing in electrification and automation, is investing in a strategic partnership with Pratexo, an edge-to-cloud acceleration platform company headquartered in Austin, Texas. ABB will make the minority investment in Pratexo through its venture capital unit, ABB Technology Ventures (ATV), according to an Aug. 22 ABB press release. Financial details of the investment were not disclosed.
Pratexo’s technology platform supports IoT and artificial intelligence initiatives that demand compute power at the edge; that is, it enables the rapid set up of systems that can process huge amounts of data generated by IoT sensors and run advanced analytics in real time close to the location of the device rather than in the cloud.
ABB’s Electrification Service will leverage Pratexo’s no-code development platform, Pratexo Studio, to accelerate and revolutionize how edge-to-cloud digital solutions are designed for customers, allowing them to make better decisions for future operations.
The collaboration with Pratexo will help ABB’s customers deploy edge-based networks and solution architectures that provide real time insights, with the added benefits of reduced cloud data transfer volumes, improved data privacy and security, and the ability to run even offline.
One example is customized, decentralized software solutions that allow distribution grid operators to manage, monitor, and assess electrical systems in real time, identify what could be causing machine faults, and optimize at the most local level to adjust to rapidly changing circumstances, such as identifying and responding to changes in power availability and consumption.
“We are in a unique position to support customers in their digital transformation regardless of what stage they are at. Investing in and partnering with innovative startups like Pratexo advances our technological services capabilities to provide enhanced industry 4.0 business outcomes to our customers,” said Stuart Thompson, president of ABB’s Electrification Service Division, in the press release. “With the open technology stack from Pratexo, we can deploy and scale the transition seamlessly, securely, and in a bespoke manner.”
“The last 20 years of IT have been mostly about centralizing computing into the cloud,” said Pratexo CEO Blaine Mathieu in the release. “The next 10 will be about balancing that with a hybrid edge-to-cloud approach—doing the right compute at the right place and at the right level. Our close collaboration with ABB will further enable and accelerate that transition.”
Pratexo, a member of the ABB SynerLeap innovation growth hub, was one of three winners of ABB Electrification’s 2022 Startup Challenge, a global competition for innovators to develop pioneering concepts that support the world’s safe, smart, and sustainable shift towards electrification.
“With the increased focus on IT security and privacy, companies are moving away from centralized cloud to edge and micro cloud based IoT solutions to retain resilience, flexibility, and scalability,” said Mads Møller, head of ABB Technology Ventures for Electrification, in the release. “This partnership will fast-track the development of software technology for ABB’s customers to perform real-time, causal analysis for electrical faults, allowing for improved operations.”
The partnership is ABB’s sixth venture capital investment of 2023 and helps expand the company’s ecosystem of innovation partners developing solutions that support decarbonization. Since its formation in 2009, ABB’s venture capital unit ATV has invested approximately $300 million into startups that are aligned with its electrification, robotics, automation, and motion portfolio.