The global semiconductor industry is bracing for “next level” chaos after the United States imposed draconian new export controls that prohibit US citizens from providing support to Chinese semiconductor manufacturers.
This is impacting the global semiconductor industry, which has already been heavily impacted by the pandemic and more. However, there still seems to be interest in the industry, as SixSense, an AI-powered industrial visual inspection platform for smarter manufacturing, secured its Series A funding of US$2.6million. This round was led by Tin Men Capital, a Singapore-based venture capital firm focused on SixSense is spearheaded by entrepreneurs, Akanksha Jagwani and Avni Agrawal, who co-founded the company in 2018.
We had a chance to speak to Akanksha Jagwani, Co-Founder and CEO, about the funding, as well as get good insight into the future of the industry.
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SixSense’s defect classification software platform benefits semiconductor manufacturers by improving the efficiency and consistency of traditional manual inspection. SixSense scans millions of products per year at high speed at each factory it serves, automatically identifying defects on a large scale. Furthermore, SixSense’s AI includes ‘explainability,’ which allows factory engineers to understand why defects occur – and, increasingly, to predict anomalies in manufacturing equipment before they manifest as product defects later on.
This enables manufacturers to make better use of the large capital investment they make in factories by significantly reducing the time and cost of quality inspection, reducing revenue loss caused by over-rejections and avoiding any potential reputational and financial costs caused by defective product recalls.
SixSense’s AI-based defect identification technology has been adopted by some of the world’s largest multinational semiconductor manufacturers from the US, Europe and Asia. The company is headquartered in Singapore with team members in India.
How do you plan to use the investment?
With this investment from Tin Men Capital, SixSense plans to increase the adoption of our first AI product – classifAI’s geographically and test it in other hi-tech manufacturing verticals.
We will also invest in building a business development and sales team with executive leadership, as well as establish customer success teams to sustain high growth and expand the tech team.
Could you give us a breakdown of how SixSense’s technology works?
SixSense’s defect classification software platform serves semiconductor manufacturers by making traditional manual inspection more efficient and consistent. SixSense scans millions of products per year at high speed at each factory that they serve and automatically identifies defects at scale.
Moreover, SixSense’s AI has built-in ‘explainability’ that enables factory engineers to understand the reason defects occur – and increasingly, to predict anomalies in manufacturing equipment before they present as product defects down the line.
This allows manufacturers to better utilise the huge capital investment they make in factories, significantly reducing the time and cost of quality inspection, reducing the revenue loss caused by over-rejections as well as avoiding any potential reputational and financial cost caused by recalls of defective products.
Do you see the potential for your technology in Southeast Asia? Any markets that are exciting?
With manufacturing facilities densely concentrated in Asia and SEA, SixSense’s technology not only meets the demand of the burgeoning semiconductor sector but can also be adapted for other areas such as electronics and automotive parts. This presents us with opportunities for the different markets within SEA, depending on their respective manufacturing focus.
How do you foresee the semiconductor industry evolving given the current situation with Chinese manufacturing being disrupted?
The demand of semiconductor chips continues to grow exponentially and each geography will try to strengthen its manufacturing supply chain to be able to meet existing demands. With countries seeking to diversify their supply chain, manufacturing sectors in countries outside of China will also be grasping this opportunity to grow their domestic supply and capabilities.
What’s next for SixSense?
To make manufacturing smarter. We are also on a never-ending mission to refine our AI technology to discover new use cases and build an AI backbone that can help achieve impact faster than ever.