February 20, 2024

Immensa, a MENA-based additive manufacturing and digital inventory management platform, raises $20 million

The global energy spare parts market is estimated at over $90 billion, with the Middle East accounting for approximately 35% of this sector. This sector remains largely untouched by existing additive manufacturing and digital inventory platforms, which have spread their footprint across the medical, aerospace, automotive and jewelry industries.

In contrast to these industries, which have been embracing additive manufacturing and 3D printing for more than a decade, energy sector only recently started doing it, and one of the startups at the forefront of this innovation is MENA-based Immensa.

The Dubai-based startup, founded by Fahmi Al Shawwa, began operations in 2016 and focused about utilizing additive manufacturing and 3D printing for industrial applications. Two years later, it identified the energy sector as its target market and has now secured $20 million in Series B funding.

Several industries worldwide are facing significant global supply chain challenges as existing structures often struggle to effectively meet customer needs. Industries such as oil and gas, petrochemicals and power generation have some of the most complex supply chains in the world. In an interview with TechCrunch, Al Shawwa noted that some of the largest companies, for example Equinor, ConocoPhillips and Saudi Electricity Company, each have spare parts worth more than a billion dollars, most of which are manufactured in regions outside their headquarters. What brings additive manufacturing into the fray is that it gives these conglomerates access to spare parts on demand without mass production in hubs in Southeast Asia, China or Latin America.

In Immensa’s case, it assesses these parts for its customers and determines the percentage that qualifies for on-demand production. reducing its customers’ strong dependence on imports. To illustrate, if a factory near London is experiencing problems with turbines that require rotor replacement, the usual process is to submit a request to the purchasing warehouse. If the warehouse has the part, it will be shipped; otherwise the manufacturer will be contacted. The manufacturer, based in Germany, works with a contract manufacturer in China, leading to the production of the part. After quality control in Germany, the part is shipped to London and then to the customer. This transportation-intensive process contributes to an environmental footprint that is likely 50% or more than what local production would entail.

Immensa’s approach is to streamline the process. When a part breaks, customers can go online, locate the needed part and place an order. It can then route the order to the nearest qualified 3D printing facility, often around Heathrow or outside London. The part is produced quickly and delivered within days, reducing lead times. This not only reduces overall costs, but also eliminates customs and shipping issues.

This reduces significantly the balance of spare parts by $200-300 million for most of these energy conglomerates, according to Al Shawwa; annually these companies suffer unnecessary losses estimated at 30 billion dollars. The transition to a digitalized supply chain also offers significant environmental benefits, such as minimizing waste and reducing the carbon footprint.

“Today, we are by far the largest company focused on digital inventory for the energy sector, and the energy sector is basically oil and gas refineries, petrochemicals, power generation, energy distribution, utilities, water, nuclear and renewables,” the founder said. , which has multiple certifications in the field of additive manufacturing and is one of the pioneers of additive manufacturing in the Middle East.

“These all fall under the energy sector specifications and this is where we focus on what we do to simplify the offering: we go to large companies, we look at their physical warehouses and we try to assess how much of this can be done. are converted into a digital warehouse or a virtual warehouse where they can have the part produced on demand at the touch of a button.”

The UAE-headquartered startup claims to be the only company that owns and controls the entire digital supply chain of the energy sector. Operating on the DIS RT platform, it offers comprehensive solutions spanning assessment, digitalization and on-demand production, effectively addressing the intertwined issues of data security and quality control as all processes are performed in-house or on-site. The company also emphasizes the integration of proprietary AI tools into DIS RT, enabling the management of extensive data volumes for real-time information processing. Immensa, which employs more than 100 additive manufacturing specialists and engineers, also claims to have developed its own hardware systems, increasing its competitive advantage in the market.

Over the past six years, Immensa has rigorously assessed over a million parts and produced more than 15,000 parts. It started in the UAE and Kuwait before spreading to Saudi Arabia. It operates from two main hubs – facilities in Dubai and Saudi Arabia – and serves customers in the Middle East, North Africa and soon North America, as it prepares to expand its reach to customers in the US, according to Al Shawwa.

Al Shawwa says Immensa’s client base consists mainly of large oil and gas conglomerates, including renowned entities such as Aramco, Adnoc and Schlumberger. While its focus is on customer quality, the seven-year-old has successfully served a significant number of companies in the energy sector, including at least 40 companies, including end-users and Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs), the players whose markets it is disrupting.

“Until a year and a half ago, most OEMs fought against us and accused us of counterfeiting and copying,” said Al Shawwa. “We are very careful and ensure that we do not infringe on copyrights and intellectual property because we also create our copyright and apart from the fact that it is part of our core values ​​and ethics, if I copy someone’s assets, someone will otherwise copy mine.”

By focusing on obsolete and out-of-warranty or unserviced parts, Immensa is in a privileged position. Interestingly, OEMs started approaching the company late last year; now it has partnered with four such companies, producing their parts under license, helping them digitize 3D printing components and paying royalties in return. This shift reflects a positive evolution in relationships within the sector.

Revenue for the Dubai-based startup is generated through the assessment, digitalization and platform sharing of these components. Last year it reached sales of more than $10 million, marking profitability; it plans to double these figures by the end of 2023.

MENA-focused venture capital firm Global Ventures led the latest funding round for Immensa. The investment attracted participation from new backers, including Endeavor Catalyst Fund and EDGO, and continued support from existing investors, such as Energy Capital Group (ECG), Shorooq Partners and Green Coast Investments. This comes two years after Immensa raised $7 million in Series A investments.

Immensa says the secured funds will propel the company from a regional entity to a prominent global solutions provider as it aims to build the largest digital warehouse in the energy sector. The investment will also improve DIS RT and strengthen its AI tools, the company said in a statement. In addition, Immensa plans to strengthen its current operations in Saudi Arabia and the UAE, anticipating the entry of at least two additional regional countries within the next six months, Oman likely to be one of them. The company operates in Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar and Jordan. Meanwhile, expansion into North America is on the horizon within the next twelve to eighteen months, while potential projects in Southeast Asia are currently being evaluated.

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