NBIF Portfolio Spotlight – Kognitiv Spark
Director of Investments
Kognitiv Spark, a Fredericton-based NBIF portfolio company, builds secure and reliable augmented reality tools to help businesses overcome complex repairs and maintenance task that would otherwise warrant a senior technician boarding a plane and travelling a great distance to complete any given task themselves.
Using the Microsoft HoloLens, the company has found success with a wide variety of industrial and defence organizations across North America and Europe. I serve on the company’s Board of Directors and I wish I could tell you some of the names in Kognitiv Spark’s client base, but let’s just say they cover everything from wind-energy production to the repair of naval vessels.
Kognitiv Spark’s RemoteSpark product allows remote workers to establish a low-bandwidth, secure video and audio call with subject matter experts when they need help solving a problem with a piece of machinery or equipment. The expert, who can be located anywhere in the world, can then see what the remote worker sees and use 3D, holographic assets to guide the repair. Think of it as a Zoom meeting on spatial-computing steroids.
We saw the potential in Kognitiv Spark from the beginning, making an initial $200,000 investment in 2017 when the company was still pre-revenue. Since then, we’ve invested several more times, often on our own. In fact, just as the COVID-19 pandemic hit, we added another $200,000 to our investment in the company for a total of nearly $1.5 million to-date to help them accelerate their sales, marketing and product development.
It was good timing. COVID-19 has changed things for a lot of businesses around the world. For some in our over-60-company portfolio, this has presented a fresh set of business challenges but for others, like Kognitiv Spark, it has created new opportunities. Since the pandemic started, Kognitiv Spark has received dozens of calls from multi-national organizations recognizing that remote work is here to stay and that they need innovative solutions to deal with this new remote-work reality and to sustain the delivery of their vital services.
Like any company relying on both advanced technology and new ways of doing business, there was risk in our investment in Kognitiv Spark. We recognized this but we knew the founder and the team he was building around him. We saw the Kognitiv team’s potential and knew it was a good fit for our portfolio.
The investment is proving to be the right decision. The company’s revenues are growing, and its technology is a proven solution to this global-business problem, especially considering the low-contact world we are currently living in. Just as commercial offices are changing for many businesses, so too is the expectation that employees will travel to solve problems. With Kognitiv Spark, someone can simply put on their HoloLens, launch a RemoteSpark call and receive guidance and coaching from an expert resource located off site. This dramatically reduces equipment downtime, eliminates travel and facilitates knowledge transfer, all in a secure, reliable and intuitively understood platform.
The future looks bright for Kognitiv Spark.
To read more about the Kognitiv Spark, visit their website here.
NBIF Director of Investments