SA’s Stone Three raises expansion funding from Knife Capital

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Stone Three, a South African expert services firm using machine learning to increase operational productivity and keep people safer, healthier and happier, has secured expansion capital from venture capital firm Knife Capital to further enhance its enterprise product offerings and accelerate growth by putting the future of work in practice. 

Stone Three has been self-funded to date by operations and shareholders, but will use the new funding to expand its end-to-end solutions for AI-augmented digital productivity, health and workplace safety include software offerings that scale at the enterprise level, contain advanced machine learning, video analytics, healthcare technologies and deep domain knowledge.

According to Derick Moolman, Stone Three CEO, “Actionable insights and sustainable business value from data help fuel the Fourth Industrial Revolution and Stone Three partners with the firms that built the world of today to create the future of work by leveraging the benefits buried in their industrial data. My former partners and I were fortunate to work closely with the Knife Capital founders in a previous successful venture and I’m excited to have this funder of choice alongside us in Stone Three’s growth journey.”

Founded in 2000 by Francois Swanepoel and Dave Weber to create bespoke, high-end signal processing solutions required to overcome real-world engineering problems, Stone Three did not follow the conventional venture capital investment path.

The initial business focus was on building a pioneering enterprise software development house. After holding various leadership roles within GE, Moolman and his new business partners invested in, and partnered with the Stone Three team in 2017 to lead the transformative strategy of developing AI-augmented solutions for a world where human endeavour is safer, healthier and more productive. 

This paved a way for Stone Three to be the preferred supplier for respected, industry-leading multinationals that are embracing Industry 4.0. AI and Machine Learning in manufacturing & mining is a high-growth market and – according to Research and Markets, Forbes – likely to reach USD 16.7 billion by 2026 while expected to grow at a CAGR of 57.2% during the forecast period. 

With Stone Three’s unique and patented industrial solutions, experienced and highly qualified team and the funding backing of Knife Capital behind them, the company is poised to further entrench its leadership position in this exciting space. 

Derick Moolman, Stone Three CEO earlier co-founded CSense Systems which secured funding from Mark Shuttleworth’s ‘Here-Be-Dragons’ venture capital fund, managed by Knife Capital.

CSense was a process analytics startup that developed rapid process troubleshooting and process improvement software solutions for industrial applications. In 2011 US-based GE Intelligent Platforms acquired the assets of CSense. Moolman therefore met and worked with the Knife Capital team for sometime and had build a working relationship.

 “It is a tough challenge to successfully blend data analytics with invaluable human experience and institutional knowledge to achieve measurable results in increasing operational productivity. Through our previous successful venture capital exit with Derick and CSense we built a trust relationship and knowing the technology development capability of the Stone Three team, we are excited to be an investor here. We look forward to adding value in their continued growth journey,” said Keet van Zyl, partner and co-founder at Knife Capital.

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