When you run big real-life industrial operations, there’s always a gauge or readout somewhere deep in the facility that your engineers or field teams need to check in person. Lilz is a Japanese startup that builds devices you can set up to read these meters remotely, and the company just raised $4.1 million as they enter the North American market.
Lilz’s devices are basically battery-powered smart cameras that can last for years between charges, while monitoring something like a pressure gauge 24/7.
It may sound a little odd in this modern era — why not just have a smart steam gauge in the first place? The simple truth is much infrastructure and heavy industry doesn’t have that option, or retrofitting may be prohibitively expensive. Yet for safety or efficiency reasons, some simple readout needs to be looked at regularly.
Sending a human down is the simplest solution or was until Lilz made its devices available a couple years ago. Their robust but low-power computer vision stack analyzes images of the gauge and relays that information digitally.
Now the Okinawa-based company has about 3,500 active cameras at 500 locations and has raised 590 million yen (approximately $4.1 million today) to fuel the next phase of their business. Its investors include JIC Venture Growth Investments, Mitsubishi UFJ Capital, Tokyo Century, Dimension Fund, Okinawa Development Finance Corporation, Okinawa’s Science and Technology Development Center, and Dogan Beta. That’s a Series B round, about twice their $2.2 million Series A round in 2021.
The company has received FCC and ISED certification for its devices and is preparing to launch in the U.S. and Canada. They plan to double their camera deployments and then rapidly expand afterward.