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Viam goes beyond robotics with its no-code automation platform

Founder and CEO Eliot Horowitz said Viam hasn’t completely transformed since the last time we spoke — it’s more of a “rebranding.” About six months ago, the Manhattan-based startup made a concerted effort to expand its reach. No-code development platforms have previously been primarily targeted at robotics companies. It’s a large and rapidly expanding category, but Horowitz explained that the company’s vision is bigger.

“The platform has been and always will be applicable to a very broad range of things, including robotics, including IoT and smart homes, industrial automation, and all these things that have sensors and actuators and computing,” the executive told TechCrunch. “Sometime during the summer, we realized that when we were emailing or talking to people, when they saw a bot on our homepage, it basically made their head spin. They said, ‘We are not a bot company. Company – we do food processing, we do PLC automation, we build ships, we are not robots.'”

Complicating the messaging is the fact that although the company is simply named “Viam,” its various social media platforms are “Viam Robotics,” since it can’t get the four-letter word. Much of the company’s initial outreach efforts also focused on robotics. Viam’s large office overlooking New York City’s Lincoln Center houses a lab space where members of the local robotics community are invited to use its platform to develop automation applications.

The rebrand includes hybrid presentations and a focus on new applications beyond robotics. The list includes industry verticals such as insurance and maritime – the latter being particularly relevant as he spoke to me via Zoom from the bridge. He added that the company has joined some large enterprise organizations, but Viam is not yet at a point where it can reveal names.

Of course, investors are still interested. Viam announced this week a $45 million Series B round of funding from Union Square Ventures and Battery Ventures. The latest round brings the company’s total funding to $87 million. Viam said the funds will be used for research and development and to strengthen commercial enterprise deployment. Horowitz told me that Viam is also actively expanding its 100-person headcount.

He acknowledged, however, that the company may still have some messaging issues when it comes to settling on a more succinct elevator pitch to accurately describe what Viam’s software will do nearly a year after its commercial release.

“I wouldn’t say we don’t have the best answers,” he admitted. “When people ask me what I do and what I do [Viam’s software] Yes, I usually give an example from their life. For example, has your HVAC ever broken? How do you find your coffee machine? If you know someone for a minute, you know that some software/hardware interface in their life sucks. We are a platform that sits at the intersection of real-world hardware and real-world software, as well as cloud and machine learning. There is no such thing as us. There is no comparison. “

#Viam #robotics #nocode #automation #platform

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