Hot Off The Assembly Line: Announcing Bain Capital Ventures’ Investment In Vention

4 min read January 15, 2019
Spotlight Infra

We are honored to announce an investment in the future of machine design with our $13 million Series A investment in Montreal-based Vention. It’s rare to see an industrial technology company that aligns so clearly to where manufacturing is going, ships an enterprise product with organic adoption, and possesses a team with deep product expertise in industrial applications.

Optimizing speed and agility for industrial transformation

In the decades since the assembly line was famously employed by the Ford Motor Company, the evolution of consumer and business customer requirements has dramatically accelerated, and manufacturing has had to adapt as a result.

The story of modern manufacturing is also one of augmenting and extending human labor with technology. Robotics, automation, 3D printing, and inspection jigs are among technologies expected to drive growth of the $13 billion market for light and medium industrial equipment. All of this equipment will need fixed tables to rest on, frames to attach to, and conveyors to be transported across or to operate next to.

Vention’s technology is a critical enabler for speed, rapid innovation, and automation on the modern factory floor. Through Vention’s powerful yet easy-to-use web-based CAD system, anyone can design and purchase their own assembly: as basic as a table, or more complex jigs, frames, conveyors and more. No more calls to sales representatives, or drives to the local distributor just to find out something is out of stock. With Vention, buyers can order and receive necessary components in a couple of days versus many months with the traditional process.

Winning customer love at the grassroots level

The factory has historically been a hostile environment for startup innovators, generally remaining in the stranglehold of system integrators and longstanding incumbents including Bosch, Siemens, and Fanuc.

Vention has figured out a unique way in — through the hearts, minds, and time savings of line engineers and managers on the factory floor. One hundred percent of Vention’s revenues to-date have been inbound and “bottom’s up,” which has fueled rapid and capital efficient growth.

Over the past couple of years, thousands of users have turned to Vention for its ease-of-use, simple interchangeable parts, and rapid fulfillment. Some of those have been hobbyists and graduate students fiddling around or fulfilling one-off needs. But others have come from all manner of professional engineers and process managers from not only young companies, but also industry leaders like Bombardier, Apple, Tesla, Universal Robotics, Pratt & Whitney, Siemens, Saint-Gobain, and more.

A unique business and a unique team

With Vention, we were fortunate to get to know a founder whose life trajectory seemed destined to lead him to the business he started.

Vention is led by Etienne Lacroix, who displayed a propensity for engineering at an early age, and was contracted by a local firm to develop high-end mountain bikes while still in high school. After studying engineering at ETS in Montreal, Etienne distinguished himself as a product designer and business leader at GE Lighting; most recently, he consulted on manufacturing transformation and product strategy for industrial giants like Bombardier.

Etienne’s deep domain expertise, combined with his vision for leveraging technology to enable the factory of the future, are driving forces behind Vention’s early success and dramatic growth.

New visions for age-old industries

More than ten years ago, Bain Capital Ventures led the first institutional investment in Kiva Systems. Through that experience, our team had the opportunity to see first-hand how software and robotics can transform the world of commerce fulfillment — a world that hadn’t seen much innovation or automation in decades. Since then, we have also been fortunate to support disruption in the world of freight and supply chain with FourKites, and logistics with ShipBob.

Today we are proud and excited to work with former Kiva alums, our old friend Louis Tetu (the founder of Taleo) and our friends at Bolt and White Star to back Etienne and the entire team at Vention as they set out to transform modern manufacturing.

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