London-based m8 Capital has announced its latest investment: leading a $4.2 million round in SCHAD, which produces mobile technology to enable engineers to remotely access, monitor and manage company plants, systems and facilities. The German company’s customers include Ford, BASF, Vanderlande Industries, FRoSTA, Deutsche Lufthansa, Volkswagen and the Airports of Cologne Bonn, Munich and Berlin. Original seed investor High-Tech Gründerfonds has also participated in the round, although an exact break down remains elusive.
SCHAD represents the third investment for m8, the majority-owned affiliate of AGC Equity Partners that targets mobile startups and technology. In June 2010, it invested $800k in the location-based startup Rummble, while more recently $2 million was put into Masabi, which develops mobile ticketing technology for the transport sector.
SCHAD’s technology, which is primarily supported on BlackBerry, along with iPhone, Android, Windows Phone and tablets such as the iPad, frees maintenance engineers from centralised control centres by letting them monitor and manage company plants and facilities via mobile. Anytime-anywhere access in which the closest engineer can be alerted and deployed to solve any issues has the ability to reduce unscheduled downtime, says SCHAD, and therefore allows for shorter maintenance response times and thus reduces overall maintenance costs.
Its main offering, Extend 7000, is aiming to become a global standard for mobile access to Factory Automation and to Programmable Logic Controllers (PLCs), while the company was recently awarded the 2010 Innovation Award for “Transforming Enterprise Business Performance” by RIM.