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$9 million is invested in Guidewheel’s SaaS, which increases manufacturing and reduces carbon emissions

SaaS may appear ubiquitous, but manufacturers have been sluggish to adopt the model.

As of the second quarter of 2022, manufacturing accounted for $2.77 trillion of GDP, or around 11% of the total. Lots of energy is consumed, and lots of greenhouse gases are released, when all that happens. But if companies could squeeze out more output with the same amount of resources, it would go a long way toward reducing the manufacturing sector’s carbon impact.

Laura Dunford, co-founder and CEO of the software as a service (SaaS) company Guidewheel, has experience in manufacturing and was aware of the inefficiencies inherent in plant operations. When equipment broke, it was typically noted on paper or in spreadsheets, and most of the collation and analysis was done manually. The plant manager and maintenance staff’s time was wasted on these errands, and output slowed as a result of equipment being down for longer than necessary.

The previous systems were “heavyweight and not a perfect fit for our size of operation,” Dunford told TechCrunch. This, in addition to the possibility of cost savings in energy and carbon emissions, was the impetus for her and her co-founder Weston McBride to launch Guidewheel, a platform that enables manufacturers to link and monitor any piece of equipment through the internet. TechCrunch was given first word exclusively that the firm has successfully raised $9 million in a Series A-1 round, with Breakthrough Energy Ventures serving as the lead investor.

Manufacturers are concerned with the functioning of their machinery, as Dunford explained: “Manufacturers only generate money when their machinery is running and generating.”

“Of course, we’ve seen more and more customers who really care about the energy side. Two reasons there: One is the pressure from investors or customers, or the ability to open up new channels. There’s a lot of excitement. The second is that increasing cost pressure — energy is a big cost for a lot of the manufacturers we work with — has created another tailwind,” she added.

Guidewheel does not highlight the energy savings in its marketing materials. Customers are typically convinced to sign on the dotted line if only the prospect of reduced equipment downtime exists. After then, corporations, according to Dunford, are always finding new methods to get the most out of their machinery, increasing efficiency by 10% to 20% and reducing expenses in areas such as runtime, production, and maintenance.