Poka Closes $25M Series B Round to Connect and Empower Frontline Factory Workers Across Global Manufacturers

A growing industrial skills crisis and the need to improve workforce performance is driving adoption of connected worker applications

Poka, a leading connected worker platform built specifically for manufacturers, has raised $25 million in Series B financing in support of the company's next phase of growth. 40 North Ventures led the investment with participation from McRock Capital and existing investors SE Ventures, CDPQ, Robert Bosch Venture Capital, and Leclerc. This round brings the company's total funding to more than $45 million.


The manufacturing sector is facing a perfect storm of challenges from a worsening skills crisis, increased operational complexity and workforce volatility caused by the pandemic. According to a recent study from The Manufacturing Institute and Deloitte (2021), 77% of manufacturers say they will have ongoing difficulties in attracting and retaining workers in 2021 and beyond. Poka helps address these challenges by giving factory workers the ability to learn continuously and solve problems more autonomously at the point of need.

Many industrial leaders including Nestlé, Bosch, Johnson & Johnson and Tetra Pak have committed to developing workforce competencies and operational knowledge by including Poka as a pillar of their digital transformation strategy. "The concept of connecting every single worker was the foundation of our digital journey and supports a highly collaborative culture while ensuring high quality standards for the production of Purina's pet care products," shared Paul Ingram, Director Digital Manufacturing Operations, Nestlé Purina. "We believe having workers connected and able to get information whenever and wherever they are in the factory is key to agility and our ability to continue advancing and innovating our processes."

Poka will use the new funds to accelerate product development in support of the company's vision to give manufacturers a single hub for operational knowledge and collaboration on the factory floor. The funding will also expedite Poka's ability to better serve its growing global customer base by scaling its go-to-market teams.

"As the Industrial Internet of Things advances the capabilities of manufacturing equipment, it's critical that factory workers also have digital technologies to provide true continuous improvement on the factory floor," said Scott MacDonald, Co-founder of McRock Capital. "Poka's platform is significantly improving plant productivity at many of the largest manufacturers in the world."

40 North Ventures and McRock Capital bring to Poka deep Industry 4.0 experience and a shared passion for driving digital transformation in manufacturing.

"Many Industry 4.0 initiatives promise disruptive automation solutions without considering the workforce and existing processes," shared Ben Sampson, Principal at 40 North Ventures. "We were struck by Poka's ability to increase productivity — at the shift, factory and enterprise levels — by focusing on improving the way workers interact with equipment, workflows and each other."

"Connected workers are empowered workers," emphasized Alexandre Leclerc, CEO & Co-Founder of Poka. "Our goal is to help our manufacturing clients turn every production problem into an opportunity to build collective knowledge, learn and improve."

About Poka

Poka is a connected worker platform built specifically for manufacturers. The company's mission is to provide a hub for operational knowledge in factories by empowering workers to learn, share and collaborate right from the production floor. Poka was the recipient of the 2020 Open Bosch Award in recognition of outstanding innovation and was distinguished as a top Connected Worker vendor in Gartner's Hype Cycle for Manufacturing Operations Strategy, two years in a row. Poka is trusted by leading global manufacturers including Nestlé, Danone, Bosch, Kraft, Johnson & Johnson, and Tetra Pak. For additional information, visit www.poka.io

About 40 North Ventures

40 North Ventures is an early-to-growth-stage venture capital fund within 40 North, the related investment platform of Standard Industries. 40 North Ventures invests in high-potential companies focused on building the industrial future through technology and business model innovation, enabling businesses to be more data-driven, customer-centric and environmentally sustainable. Learn more at www.40northventures.com

About McRock Capital

McRock is the first dedicated Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) venture capital fund manager focused on the intersection of sensors and software in large industrial markets and smart cities. The McRock team has a unique background of building high-growth venture-backed IIoT companies while also having worked in the power, water, oil and gas industries. McRock is backed by several leading institutional investors and global corporations including Cisco Systems, Caterpillar, Shell, Mitsubishi, AspenTech and Électricité de France (EDF). For more information, visit McRockCapital.com and follow on Twitter @McRockCapital.

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