Neural Concept raises a $9.1m Series A to scale Engineering Intelligence within industrial organizations

Mar 22, 2022

Neural Concept, the Engineering Intelligence company, has raised a $9.1 m Series A, led by Alven with the participation of Aster and prior investors, CNB and HTGF. 

The funding follows a series of successes for Neural Concept. Over the last 12 months, the number of its customer companies has more than tripled. In the same period, the team achieved a major breakthrough in integrating its technology within automotive OEMs and Tier 1 design toolchains.

Redefining the time-to-market of high-performance designs

Flawless products take time to develop. Engineering a futuristic car, an airplane or a smartphone requires countless iterations and an obsession for details. But, today’s global challenges, and our business world are asking for new levels of reactivity, adaptivity and speed. As a response, Neural Concept has redefined how quickly high-end designs can be engineered and brought to market. The company is relying on a proprietary technology, based on Geometric Deep-Learning, to exploit engineering data to the fullest. By automatically learning from raw simulation and everyday design information, Neural Concept’s solution speeds up R&D cycles, enhances product performance and helps solve the toughest engineering challenges.

Neural Concept has already been adopted by world-class engineering teams at companies such as Airbus, Bosch, Safran or Plastic-Omnium, as well as by a number of tech and car-racing groups. Engineering Intelligence reduces the time needed for repetitive numerical simulation tasks, taking it down from days to seconds. The speed and accessibility of the tool make teams more responsive: they typically solve design tasks two times faster than before, while reducing by up to 10 times the need for compute-intensive simulations.

Use-case example:

The customer

  • An Automotive Supplier delivering critical car components to automotive OEMs around the globe.

The pain

  • Vehicle Electrification creates new engineering design challenges. 
  • Strong time pressure because of vehicle development cycles going from 6 to 2 years and the explosion of car options per model (Electric, Hybrid, Thermal, Plug-In).
  • Fierce competition on price and design performances.

The gain with Neural Concept

  • More reactivity, designing customized parts for OEMs in 2 weeks instead of 6 months.
  • Supplying better parts than the competition: lighter weight and more energy efficient.
  • Using less simulation, saving on computational costs and server usage.

Funding to support large scale deployments within key customers’ toolchains

In the next two years, Neural Concept’s ambition is that 200 engineering teams will experience these productivity improvements or cost-savings. To achieve that, the company will recruit more than 30 collaborators with engineering degrees, at the crossroads  between simulations and machine learning and pursue its fruitful research collaboration with EPFL. 

“With this new capital intake, we will deepen our collaboration with our key customers and go the extra-mile together to fundamentally redesign and improve their engineering workflows. Our platform has proven its worth with a few leading engineering teams and the next years will be dedicated to make this revolution an everyday reality for hundreds of engineers”, explained Pierre Baqué, founder and CEO.

"Two years ago, no one could imagine that industrial product simulation would be replaced by AI in the future. But it's arriving faster than expected and Neural Concept technology is already years ahead in terms of prediction and optimisation. It saves a lot of time and a lot of resources: a new team member needs 2 hours to learn how to use it when it took years to master simulation techniques before. We see a lot of potential outside of automotive and aerospace design." commented Charles Letourneur, Managing Partner, Alven.

About Neural Concept

Neural Concept is a spin-off from EPFL in Lausanne, founded in 2018 by Pierre Baqué and EPFL professors Francois Fleuret and Pascal Fua. Our Company was born in a top notch research lab and the values of research are in our DNA. We are honest, pragmatic and passionate about innovation. Neural Concept is building software to help all those working on new technologies to foster a great and sustainable future on our planet and outside.  Neural Concept has a team of 25 people, fully committed to revolutionizing the future of industrial engineering with intelligence.

Learn more at www.neuralconcept.com

About Alven

Alven is an independent early-stage venture capital firm with over $500m under management and a successful track record of backing more than 140 startups over 20 years.

Our mission at Alven consists in supporting the long-term success of European category-defining startups with global reach, starting at Series A or Seed stage. Alven’s sectors of interest include notably B2C/B2B marketplaces, productivity and dev tools, vertical AI platforms, consumer social & entertainment, B2C financial services and wellness brands. 

Past or current investments include Algolia, Dataiku, Drivy, Happn, Wit.ai (Facebook), CaptainTrain (Trainline/KKR), MeilleursAgents (Axel Springer), SeLoger (IPO), Webhelp, Peopledoc, Sqreen, Meero, Jobteaser, Sezane, Qonto, and OpenClassrooms.

Learn more at www.alven.co

About Aster

Aster Capital is a leading early-stage venture capital fund with offices in Paris and London. Over 20 years, the fund has partnered with more than 70 portfolio companies, driven by the ambition to transform the most carbon-intensive industries (energy, building & construction, transportation & logistics, manufacturing, etc). Aster Capital is strongly committed to fast-tracking the vision of all its founders by giving them immediate access to mentorship and a global network. https://www.aster.com/ 

About CNB

CNB Capital is an independent technology investment firm headquartered in Vienna. The evergreen group is privately owned and run, set up with a strong sense for long-term value creation. CNB Capital is looking for outstanding teams developing tech products addressing B2B industries. The investment focus centers on European companies in their market-entry phase and beyond.

Learn more at www.cnb.capital

About HTGF

About High-Tech Gründerfonds

High-Tech Gründerfonds (HTGF) is a seed investor that finances high-potential, tech-driven start-ups. With around EUR 900 million in total investment volume across three funds and an international network of partners, HTGF has already helped forge more than 650 start-ups since 2005. Driven by their expertise, entrepreneurial spirit and passion, its team of experienced investment managers and startup experts help guide the development of young companies. HTGF’s focus is on high-tech start-ups in the fields of digital tech, industrial technology, life sciences, chemistry and related business areas. To date, external investors have injected more than EUR 4 billion into the HTGF portfolio via more than 1,800 follow-on financing rounds. HTGF has also successfully sold interests in more than 150 companies.

 

Investors in this public-private partnership include the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action, KfW Capital, and Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft e.V., as well as the companies ALTANA, BASF, BAYER, B.Braun, Boehringer Ingelheim, Robert Bosch, BÜFA, CEWE, Deutsche Bank, Deutsche Post DHL, Dräger, 1+1 AG, EVONIK, EWE AG, FOND OF, Haniel, Hettich, Knauf, Körber, LANXESS, media + more venture Beteiligungs GmbH & Co. KG, PHOENIX CONTACT, QIAGEN, RWE Generation SE, SAP, Schufa, Schwarz Gruppe, STIHL, Thüga, Vector Informatik, WACKER and Wilh. Werhahn KG. 

Learn more at www.htgf.de/en

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