Ubiquity Founder Profile: Anurag Maunder of Sensable
Learn how computer vision is transforming warehouse efficiency as well as Sensable CEO's robotics obsession
Here we spotlight a founder who leverages software beyond the screen to transform an industry. As always, each Ubiquity founder has their own nerdy background (we define nerdiness as having a deep obsession) that led to founding their startup.
Meet Anurag Maunder, CEO and founder of Sensable, the first vision-powered SaaS platform built for industrial engineering. Ubiquity Ventures has been a proud investor since co-leading Sensable’s seed round of financing last year.
Can you sum up what Sensable does?
We create a vision platform for industrial engineering that enables our customers with manufacturing and warehouse facilities to increase efficiency and throughput by reducing the gap between planning and operations.
Currently, the state of the art in the industry is to use AI for object detections or some predefined activities that the system comes trained with. However, most operations are a lot more dynamic and customers need to capture their own custom activities of interest. Sensable is the only technology that enables them to capture their custom activities without reaching back to the vendor. An image is worth a thousand words, but today a human is required to translate that image into words. With active reporting and commentary, Sensable is the first step towards autonomous factories or warehouses.
What is the story behind founding Sensable?
Having worked with industrial companies for the past decade, I am always amazed at the scale at which these manufacturing and warehouse facilities operate. Moreover, despite their size of over a million square feet and large workforce, they still use manual steps to capture and optimize hundreds of their processes. The gap between operations and planning is huge; it’s no wonder that most of the companies hover at around a 40% to 60% efficiency level. To give you an idea: in a $40T economy, a 1% improvement in efficiency implies $400B in cost savings. I was lucky to have found a person who had an extensive background in this field and shared my passion for solving these "very solvable" problems.
We had two major realizations: (1) making operations more dynamic and streamlined is the way to achieve efficiency, and (2) AI and video are now mature enough to enable a vision-powered SaaS platform to drive up efficiency.
When did you first get into this area of AI-assisted remote vision?
While working with AI teams in various capacities, I saw a gap where past AI solutions weren’t working for video analysis software to analyze hours/days of video footage. It really bothered me that there was nothing on the market, so I started to dream up the ideal solution that could solve this problem.
I have always been a builder, and my passion for building has made me a serial entrepreneur. I built the most scalable enterprise text analytics platform in my first company, and at my last company,Kindred, our mission was to make robots autonomous. There, I worked to shift the system from being largely teleoperated to being primarily autonomous. In all my companies, I think it’s important to build the core technology early on to de-risk the product.
We think of nerds as people who are obsessed with something (see our blog post on the subject). What are you nerdy about or obsessed with?
I have coached robotics teams for many years. I derive great pleasure from building robots that accomplish missions autonomously. I like to identify all scenarios where robots fail so we can fix the root cause.
In a way, Sensable is the first step towards autonomous factories and warehouses. If you don't know what activities and exceptions are happening at your facility then how can you automate them or make them autonomous?
What’s your advice to budding technical founders who haven’t yet taken the leap to launch their new company?
It’s important to focus on what changes they want to bring to this world with the knowledge of the technology they have. The company will follow. Most technical founders have enough business sense so I recommend that they should not treat the business like a black box. It cannot be outsourced.
Are you a founder in the smart hardware or machine learning sector? Let’s talk!
Ubiquity Ventures — led by Sunil Nagaraj — is a seed-stage venture capital firm managing close to $100 million with a focus on startups transforming real-world physical problems into problems solved with "software beyond the screen". Ubiquity's portfolio includes B2B technology companies that utilize smart hardware or machine learning to solve business problems outside the reach of computers and smartphones.