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49. Uptake

Founder: Brad Keywell (CEO)
Launched: 2014
Headquarters: Chicago
Funding:
$258 million
Valuation: $2.3 billion (PitchBook)
Key technologies:
Artificial intelligence, cloud computing, digital twins, machine learning
Industry:
SaaS, software, IoT

George Kavallines | CNBC

Uptake's mission: to create a world that always works. That's a pretty big ambition, but this Chicago-based SaaS start-up believes that AI and machine learning are the answer. Uptake takes voluminous amounts of data produced in industries like energy and transportation and uses AI to unlock all the ways a particular process or machine could potentially fail. Company co-founder and CEO Brad Keywell — one of the people who started Groupon — says this helps Uptake customers, such as Berkshire Hathaway Energy, Rolls-Royce and the U.S. Army, reach new levels of productivity, reliability and safety.

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In April the company partnered with J.D. Power to develop new analytics products for the automotive industry, as well as for utilities and telecommunications companies. The alliance will enable original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and operators in these three industries to gather insights from millions of newly connected devices, including those in manufacturing plants as well as vehicles, smart meters and network devices. The two companies will provide independent industry benchmark studies, data and analytics products and customized advisory services.

The company also signed a contract in June with the U.S. Army to improve the readiness of the Bradley Fighting Vehicle by predicting component failures and decreasing the frequency of unscheduled maintenance.

Uptake is already working on six continents and opened an office in Dubai late last year. The company has taken in $218 million in funding from investors such as Baillie Gifford, Revolution Growth and GreatPoint Partners.

VIDEO2:1002:10
Uptake CEO on why Chicago is a great place for startups to grow