Today (Tuesday), Augury, an Israeli startup developing an AI-powered IoT and machine health platform, announced a $180 million Series E. The round, which was completed at a valuation north of the $1 billion mark, enters Augury into the now crowded Israeli Unicorn club.

The Israeli startup’s current round was led by Baker Hughes, a key player in the energy industry. Other investors included Schneider Electric’s investment arm, alongside existing investors: Qumra Capital, Eclipse Ventures, Insight Partners, Munich RE Ventures, Qualcomm Capital, and Lerer Hippeau Ventures.

The machine whisperer

Augury's diagnostic technology is built around a fairly simple principle; Each mechanical system can be characterized by the sound it makes. That is, machines actually "talk", and the technology developed by the company knows how to decipher what they "say".

The information in IoT components is continuously collected around the clock, transmitted to the cloud and analyzed using artificial intelligence algorithms. The analysis compares the data of the tested machine with data previously collected on it and on tens of thousands of similar machines. Thus it helps to identify abnormal behavior patterns that may indicate malfunction or wear and tear on the machines. Also, the system developed by the company recommends the optimal way to fix the problem.

The company says that the corona crisis, which paralyzed large parts of the industry, was a springboard forward. The use of its system - which relies on the use of IoT components and artificial intelligence, has enabled the company's customers to obtain an updated event log even remotely, thus saving unnecessary exposure of employees. Augury says the outbreak of the pandemic has boosted its growth rate and sales, but he did not share exactly in numbers.

Saar Yoskovitz, co-founder and CEO of Auguri, says in a conversation with Geektime that the raised capital will be utilized by the company, and the round does not include a secondary component - usually popular following the closing of a mega-round. Yoskovitz also referred to the wages of high-tech workers and the calls to "stop the madness". He said that we are seeing an increase in workers' salaries - both in Israel and abroad, but this should not come as a surprise. "When the average value of companies increases by 30%, and the amount of money that flows into the ecosystem increases by 30%, it is not surprising that part of the increase will seep into employees' salaries (and real estate prices)."

He added that “the challenge is not necessarily today, because as long as companies continue to raise huge sums at high valuations, the market will continue to grow. The challenge will come when the music stops. The public market will recover very quickly, followed by the correction in the capital funds. It is very easy to raise salaries when the market is growing, it will be really traumatic to lower salaries when the market goes down. "

Augury was founded in 2011 by CEO Saar Yoskovitz and CTO Gal Shaul, and employs 220 people. The Israeli company has partnerships with some of the biggest manufacturers, including Colgate-Palmolive, PepsiCo, Nestle, and many others.