South African AI-as-a-Service (AIaaS) startup DataProphet has announced the completion of its $10 million Series A funding round which started in 2020 with a $6 million round led by IDC and Norican.

This latest round was led by venture capital firm Knife Capital which initially invested in DataProphet in early 2018 via its KNF Ventures Section 12J funding vehicle. The funding for this latest round came from the firm’s recently launched Knife Fund III, which aims to support the international ambitions of African scale-ups.

According to Knife Capital, the Knife Fund III fund is still open for investment and is backed by the International Finance Corporation, the Mineworkers Investment Company, the SA SME Fund, select family offices, and other credible financial institutions.

Speaking on the investment into DataProphet, Keet van Zyl, co-founder and partner at Knife Capital stated: “Accelerating the international expansion of DataProphet, given the leading nature of its technology, is exactly the mandate of our new Fund – and it couldn’t be more fitting for our first investment to be a follow-on investment from our existing cohort.”

Founded in 2014 by Frans Cronje and Daniel Schwartzkopff, DataProphet is an artificial intelligence (AI) startup which claims to position companies in the manufacturing industry to evolve towards autonomous, energy-efficient production, optimising manufacturing performance. 

The startup’s flagship solution, PRESCRIBE, a deep learning solution designed to reduce manufacturing risk in multi-step processes and also enables customers to reduce costs by an average of 40% and also supports manufacturers on their digital adoption curve.

On the funding round, Cronje stated that the capital will be used to expand the business into new markets and source new talent.

“I am excited about the continued support DataProphet has received from Knife Capital. Going forward, we will use this additional funding to accelerate and expand into new markets, build new relationships aligned with our machine builder strategy, and further our global expansion. Another important pillar is bringing in top talent to build on this momentum,” he mentioned.

The startup has been on an impressive growth trajectory since Knife Capital’s first capital injection in 2018, tripling its team, expanding its customer base to the Americas, Europe, and Asia and also winning several awards, including the “Outstanding Innovation Category” at the recent Global Business Excellence Awards.

It was also recently included in CBInsights’ Top 50 Advanced Manufacturing Start-ups.

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