Seeq looks to build momentum in Europe

The supplier landscape targeting the €92bn European IoT opportunity is large and diverse. 

At the top end, giants such as SAP, GE Digital, Siemens, Bosch, and Microsoft are staking a claim on the platforms space, but IoT is also proving to be a market where smaller players are landing some significant wins with major accounts. 

One example is Seeq, an advanced analytics company with growing European ambitions. Founded in Seattle, Washington, in 2013, the company recently inked a deal with oil giant Shell, which will use its SaaS apps running on Microsoft Azure.  

PAC caught up with Seeq’s CMO Michael Risse recently to learn more about its offering, and the latest investment round it recently closed with a range of high-profile industrial backers. Funding from Altira Group, Chevron Technology Ventures and next47 (a Siemens-backed VC fund) has taken the total investment in Seeq to date to more than $35m. 

Seeq focuses on the analytics piece of the IoT market, specifically in process manufacturing industries such as chemicals, oil and gas, metals and mining, and pharma. 

Unlike many other IoT analytics, Seeq’s niche is advanced analytics for time series data. Processing such data is an imperative to many process manufacturing industries, which rely on real-time execution. Seeq’s offerings enable employees to analyse the data, spot anomalies, predict the outcomes, and also to share insights and collaborate with non-technical stakeholders (which is a major upgrade that Seeq has worked on recently). 

According to Risse, Seeq can be deployed on top of existing infrastructure and integrates three different types of data: manufacturing data coming from industrial systems such as OSIsoft, GE, or Honeywell; structured SQL data coming from Oracle, My SQL, etc.; as well as external data coming, for example, from a weather forecast. Seeq also allows integration with visualisation platforms such as Tableau or Spotfire. 

Seeq’s value proposition includes two SaaS solutions, Seeq Organizer and Seeq Workbench, which can run on Microsoft Azure, Amazon AWS, on-premises, or in a hybrid environment. According to Risse, the ability to offer flexible deployment is very important for its clients, which are moving in the cloud direction, but are not quite there yet, and such flexibility is a major advantage. 

Seeq’s go-to-market strategy is mostly direct, with the help of partners from its industrial ecosystem. These include the likes of process automation specialists such as Emerson Automation Solutions, Inductive Automation, OSIsoft, Honeywell, and Schneider Electric.

PAC sees Seeq as a provider with a very specific focus on time series data, which is becoming increasingly available thanks to the emergence of IoT. The focus on process manufacturing is a good strategy to differentiate from other, more horizontally-oriented companies. Still, the fact that Seeq targets clients across nine sub-verticals might potentially be too broad for a relatively young company. However, the recently received VC injection will definitely boost its capabilities to reach multiple industries and regions in Europe. 

Additionally, the fact that Seeq’s value proposition is a SaaS solution makes it well suited for organizations with limited development resources. However, unlike the PaaS offering, this could limit the customers’ ability to tweak the solutions based on their own needs and could also limit the interest among the system integrators for integrating Seeq’s offering into their end-to-end solutions. Seeq should look to partner with system integrators as their engagements with manufacturers are increasingly swinging away from the IT departments to their lines of business, just where Seeq would like to position itself. 

The combination of SaaS and IoT analytics of times series data in process manufacturing seems very relevant for asset-heavy companies as they look to become more efficient. PAC closely follows all sorts of companies in the emerging IoT and AI ecosystems that can bring such efficiencies, and will keep Seeq on its radar with great interest.