Tencent invests in SenSat to fuel the digitisation of infrastructure

1 Oct 2019

From left: Harry Atkinson (head of product) and James Dean (CEO). Image: SenSat

SenSat aims to bring infrastructure into the 21st century with the help of artificial intelligence and machine learning.

On Tuesday (1 October), SenSat announced that its Series A funding round has been completed, raising a total of $10m.

The UK company, which applies artificial intelligence to infrastructure, said that its funding round was led by Chinese multinational conglomerate Tencent. There was also participation from Sistema Venture Capital.

SenSat, which was launched in 2018, will use the funding to expand its team in the UK, while driving international expansion.

The company plans to expand its London team of 30 threefold over the next year, focusing on data scientists, mathematicians, software developers and creative problems solvers.

‘A more sustainable future’

SenSat creates digital representations of real world locations – otherwise known as digital twins – infusing real-time data sets from a variety of sources.

The result is a digital and up-to-date copy of the real world in a machine-readable format, enabling offline industries, such as infrastructure, to make more informed decisions and accurate analysis. This results in improvements in safety, cost efficiency, waste generation, project collaboration and carbon reduction.

The company said that to sustain global growth predictions, $94trn investment will need to be made in infrastructure by 2040, but infrastructure remains one of the least digitised sectors in the global economy.

SenSat’s co-founder and CEO, James Dean, said: “SenSat has a simple but profound goal: to build the third platform, an intelligent ecosystem that translates the real world into a version understandable to AI.

“This technology will help us build a more sustainable future, using the wealth of new insight to help humans make better decisions.”

Tencent investment

Dean added: “SenSat has scaled rapidly in the past year and we have big plans for this first major round of investment, adding to our world-class AI expertise and enabling fresh partnerships with innovators in a range of different fields.

“With Tencent, we share similar ambitions about the impact of enterprise internet on laggard industries and how that can lead us operating our world more sustainably.”

Since the start-up launched its Mapp platform last year, the technology has been adopted by more than 30 international infrastructure companies, including Heathrow Airport, Kier and WSP.

Dr Ling Ge, chief European representative at Tencent Holdings, said: “We are delighted with our investment into SenSat, which aligns well with the ambitions of Tencent’s Cloud and Smart Industries group.

“We believe SenSat is well positioned to introduce mass digital automation to offline industries that have not yet engaged in the digital revolution, and we look forward to SenSat applying its platform to a broadening range of smart industries.”

Kelly Earley was a journalist with Silicon Republic