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EU Backs $100m Venture Capital Fund For ‘Industry 5.0’ (Industry 4.0 With-a-conscience)

EU backs $100m venture capital fund for ‘Industry 5.0’ (Industry 4.0 with-a-conscience)

EU backs $100m venture capital fund for ‘Industry 5.0’ (Industry 4.0 with-a-conscience)

IOTSWC, Barcelona — Ken Forster (far left and top), founding partner at Momenta, on stage in Barcelona, flanked right by Sean O’Reagain, deputy head of Industry 5.0 research and innovation at the European Commission, plus others Zurich-based venture capital group Momenta has launched a $100 million target fund for ‘Industry 5.0’ tech – basically, for startups pushing Industry 4.0 with-a-conscience. The new fund is backed by the European Commission, which told IoT Solutions World Congress (IOTSWC) in Barcelona, where the Momenta fund was announced, that the Industry 4.0 movement is too tech-focused, and has failed to prioritise people and the planet. Speaking at IOTSWC today (January 31) that industrial change works best when workers are in charge of it, and both business productivity and environmental sustainability are its consequences. Indeed, this concept of Industry 5.0 was the theme of the event – on the main stage, at least; even as exhibitors on the floor told RCR Wireless that environmental, social, and governance (ESG) targets are being met without much tweaking by Industry 4.0 solutions. Momenta, which has has lent a helping hand to industrial IoT data platforms ThingWorx (acquired by PTC) and PLAT.ONE (acquired by SAP), as well as predictive IoT maintenance platform Senseye (acquired by Siemens), and run LoRaWAN venture funds besides, said the funds will go to “early growth-stage innovators” selling digital change to the energy, manufacturing, buildings, and supply chain sectors. The watchword is “human-centric” Industry 4.0. The new Industry 5.0 fund will offer venture capital support to startups in Europe (European Union and European Free Trade Zone), plus in the UK, US, and Canada. Momenta said it will continue to supply ecosystem support and “value creation expertise”. Momenta has made over 100 investments across four Industry 4.0 fund. Previous beneficiaries include: manufacturing platforms Litmus, Raven, and SmartEx; digital infrastructure software firms Edge Impulse, Expeto, and Xage; and autonomous mobility companies Agtonomy, EquipmentShare, and Fixposition. Ken Forster, founding partner at Momenta, said: “The launch of the Industry 5.0 fund, our fifth venture capital fund since 2012, expands our focus from digital technologies that drive industry productivity to those that drive societal and environmental impact. We will continue to partner with technology companies that advance industry forward, driving economic growth balanced by greater human-centricity and reduced environmental impact.” Michael Dolbec, managing partner at Momenta, said: “This new fund places us in a stronger position to advance the key challenge facing reshoring initiatives in the US and EU while continuing to create value for our investors. Given the intense interest in regaining manufacturing expertise, it’s an ideal time to be doubling down on Momenta’s commitment to this field.” The European Commission’s Industry 5.0 initiative, published this month , is geared to move the Industry 4.0 focus from shareholder value to stakeholder value “ with benefits for all concerned”. It states: “Industry 5.0 attempts to capture the value of new technologies, providing prosperity beyond jobs and growth, while respecting planetary boundaries, and placing the wellbeing of the industry worker at the centre of the production process.”

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Daisie Hobson

Daisie Hobson is a Director at the Reshoring Institute and an engineer with many years of experience in manufacturing and project management.

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