Thread, a prominent figure in autonomous data collection for precise inspection insights, has secured $15M in its Series A funding round. Badlands Capital spearheaded the round, with notable contributions from early utility partner Minnkota Power Cooperative, Generational Partners, Rosecliff Ventures, Excell Partners, Homegrown Capital, and Kevin O'Leary's Wonder Fund North Dakota. These funds are earmarked to bolster Thread's expansion across various asset categories and further the development of its UNITI platform. The platform aims to be the pioneering turnkey Asset Performance Management (APM) tool tailored for the energy and utilities sector.
Thread's track record boasts the successful automation of data collection of utility assets, including wind, oil, and gas, extending its reach to linear (transmission and distribution) assets. Its clientele encompasses several Fortune 500 companies, including Xcel Energy, and collaborates with significant asset protection entities like the MISTRAS Group.
Josh Riedy, CEO of Thread, highlighted the pressing challenges in the contemporary utility landscape, citing the aging global infrastructure, hurdles in workflow integrations, and the dwindling skilled workforce in Operations & Maintenance (O&M). He emphasized that the fresh capital infusion will empower Thread to bridge the existing chasm between sporadic inspections and real-time asset data, heralding the sector's digital transformation.
The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law's $1T allocation for new energy infrastructure underscores the mounting demands for robust asset health monitoring mechanisms. Blaine Crissman, General Partner at Badlands Capital, championed Thread's UNITI, emphasizing its transformative potential in steering data-driven decision-making.
Asher Kraut from Generational Partners drew attention to the disappointments around drone inspections in the past decade, praising Thread for not only revolutionizing the inspection process but also for creating a comprehensive platform to assist customers in making informed O&M decisions based on up-to-the-minute data.
Furthermore, Thread unveiled its intensified collaboration with Xcel Energy, aiming to optimize the UNITI platform's feasibility for broad-scale deployment in the global utility sector. This unique partnership with Xcel Energy underscores the commitment of both parties to reshaping the methods energy and utility operators adopt to harness automation, robotics, and business intelligence for enhanced asset performance.
At a recent conference for Utility leaders, the imperative to revamp Utility asset health was a recurring theme. Thomas Stegge, UAS Program Manager at Xcel Energy, recollected Xcel's transition to automated wind inspections and its transformative impact on daily operations and broader asset management strategies.