From Siloed to Contextualized Operational Data – How Cognite is Driving the Digital Transformation of the World’s Largest and Most Vital Industries

Everyone talks about the transformative power of big data, often in relation to consumer insights. Yet there is a river of information flowing just as powerfully out of industrial facilities around the world – information that could be harnessed to make our planet more sustainable, industries more efficient, and jobs safer.

Industrial companies are waking up to the power of that information, and today we’re excited to announce an investment in Cognite, a global industrial Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) leader, whose mission is to digitalize heavy-asset industries and unlock the power of their operational data.

The Industrial Leaders’ Choice

Founded in Norway in 2017 by Dr. John Markus Lervik, Geir Engdahl, and Stein Danielsen, Cognite has made huge headway in transforming the use of data across oil and gas, power and utilities, renewable energy and manufacturing, using its cloud-based Cognite Data Fusion (CDF) platform. Companies like bp, Saudi Aramco, Alfa Laval, Statnett, and Mitsubishi are already optimizing the way they operate using Cognite’s platform.

In Good Company

Cognite is an exciting addition to TCV’s portfolio and fits squarely with our thesis on the next-gen industrial software space. This dates back to our support for Seismic-Micro Technology (SMT) from 2007, which gave us early insight into how oil and gas companies value operational intelligence – and its importance from a regulatory and operational efficiency perspective.

This investment led to us finding and backing OSIsoft in 2011, which has since become a standard in the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) market due to its ability to pull data from sensors and industrial equipment at scale for the world’s largest industrial companies.

Another investment is IQMS, one of the first manufacturing software vendors to natively connect manufacturing execution systems to the ERP software of their suppliers/smaller manufacturers, so they could harness the power of the factory data to hone business decisions.

Across these investments we have seen big data and data-driven decision-making soar and drive a huge opportunity for innovation and investment.

Bridging the Gap Between Business and Operational Data Insights

Digital-first companies inherently operate in a data driven way. They produce a sea of business performance data via their IT systems and are able to collect, analyze and manage that data to plan more strategically and run more efficiently. The opportunity in the industrial space is to extend these benefits, harnessing the oceans of operational technology (OT) data generated by every asset and piece of equipment making up factories, processing plants, or broader industrial estates. To date, turning this data into business value has proved a challenge – not least because OT covers a diverse range of data sources and formats.

The sensors on a single piece of equipment may hold the key to insights about production quantities, efficiency data, motor speeds and heat readings. The challenge is how to combine all those different data points into the right context to assess and improve equipment performance. This is a problem that, until recently, no one had solved – and, frankly, few companies even understood.

A Meeting of Minds and the Missing Contextualization Layer

In 2018, not long after Cognite’s founding, Øyvind Eriksen, President & CEO of Aker, and Kjell Inge Røkke, the majority owner of Aker, came to visit our California offices along with Cognite’s CEO, John Markus – to discuss what they were building at Cognite.

It was clear to us from that first meeting that Aker’s support and industrial expertise, combined with John Markus’ product brilliance, addressed the need for this missing contextualization layer – and that Cognite’s product strategy would be aimed at solving this critical issue. That initial meeting led to a relationship which has culminated in TCV’s investment today.

Cognite uses the latest technology – in particular machine learning – to enable large amounts of information to be ingested in real time and, crucially, contextualized so it can be leveraged for a wide range of use cases. This approach, which improves data’s accessibility and governance across an entire organization, significantly shortens the time to value and scalability of high-ROI applications including predictive maintenance, production optimization, and remote work.   

Fueling Cognite’s Next Growth Chapter

Cognite is the perfect fit for TCV’s strategy of investing early in potential franchise companies of the future. We are thrilled to be part of their next growth chapter and help them scale and catalyze the full-scale digital transformation of heavy-asset industries.

The company joins Brex, Redis Labs, Revolut, Relex, Klarna, Mambu, Mollie and recent investments in Europe and around the world. Like OSIsoft, IQMS, Genesys, Netflix, Spotify and many other global leaders in our portfolio that were once young growth-stage companies, Cognite is forging ahead in a fragmented field to become the category leader.

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The views and opinions expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of TCMI, Inc. or its affiliates (“TCV”). TCV has not verified the accuracy of any statements by the author and disclaims any responsibility therefor. This blog post is not an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to purchase an interest in any private fund managed or sponsored by TCV or any of the securities of any company discussed. The TCV portfolio companies identified above are not necessarily representative of all TCV investments, and no assumption should be made that the investments identified were or will be profitable. For a complete list of TCV investments, please visit www.tcv.com/all-companies/. For additional important disclaimers regarding this interview and blog post, please see “Informational Purposes Only” in the Terms of Use for TCV’s website, available at http://www.tcv.com/terms-of-use/.