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Sony Semiconductor Israel Spinoff Lands $20M for Supply Chain Digitization

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Supply chain digitization startup Sensos, a spin-off of Sony Semiconductor Israel, recently secured $20 million in new funding in its Series A round. The lead investor in the round was Israeli venture capital firm Magenta Venture Partners — a fund backed by Japanese conglomerate Mitsui — with JAL Ventures, Israel Cargo Logistics, and Sumitomo Corporation also participating.

Sensos specializes in manufacturing solutions for smart logistics. Specifically, the company makes ultra-thin electronic labels that can be unobtrusively attached to packages in order to enhance supply chain data visibility. The differentiator of Sensos’s approach to smart packaging solutions is that the tracking capability driven by the company’s core tech is supported by cell towers, sidestepping the need for manual checkpoints.

Thus, Sensos’s labels bring enterprises a long way towards full automation of supply chain traceability, explaining why the company has already caught on with corporate giants like Bayer and DB Schenker, the logistics division of German rail operator Deutsche Bahn. The labels include printed zinc manganese batteries, with each label produced to have an optimal operational lifetime of about a year.

In a press release about the Series A round, Sensos CEO, Aviv Castro, said, “This investment from leading players in the industry is a clear vote of confidence in the team and in the solution, solving the lack of actionable data and the need for optimized execution in today’s logistics market. By using the Sensos solution, companies can optimize production planning, inventory levels, and shipping efficiency and at the same time monitor and reduce greenhouse gas emissions meeting ESG regulations.”

Ori Israely, managing general partner at Magenta Venture Partners, said, “Accelerated by COVID-19 and geopolitical pressures, supply chain and logistics grow in scale and complexity — yet suffer from lack of real-time actionable data. We see a growing need for solutions that enable greater supply chain accountability and agility. Sensos’ vision goes beyond anyone else in the market today, with a team that is well immersed in the world of logistics and ready to face this global challenge.”

The $20 million round is especially impressive given how hard Israeli tech companies were hit by the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank which occurred around a year ago. The Israeli government estimated that at least one-third of the companies in the nation’s tech sector had some financial relationship with Silicon Valley Bank.

As I’ve noted before, when lending conditions tighten, it can become much easier to spot trends by paying attention to the areas that investments continue to flow into. Thus, a big funding round for a company like Sensos reinforces the idea that for all technologies at the intersection between digitization and logistics, supply chain visibility is one of the most promising foundations for building a business case.

As products like Sensos’ label achieve greater scalability, and as the customer base gains increasing familiarity with the technology, it is easy to envision companies experimenting with all the ways that traceability can be accomplished via embedding sensors directly into manufactured goods themselves, rather than simply the packaging. This provides a pivotal opportunity for the additive manufacturing (AM) industry, especially players in the printed electronics space. The potential has been discussed for years, but it appears that genuinely lucrative connections between IoT applications and 3D printing are finally emerging.

Images courtesy of Sensos

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