Kenyan startup Guidewheel, formerly Safi, raises $8m Series A for US expansion.


Guidewheel, a manufacturing technology pioneer that originated as Safi in Nairobi, Kenya, has closed a $8 million Series A funding round to power its ongoing expansion in the United States (US).

Guidewheel based out of Nairobi as Safi from 2018 to 2020, is a leader in cloud-powered factory operations, enabling companies to digitalize their operations and achieve sustainable peak performance.

Its plug-and-play platform attaches to any machine on the factory floor, providing real-time visibility that reduces on lost production and boosts productivity. Though it still has approximately 30% of its customer base in Nairobi, Guidewheel is now focusing on sales in the United States, for which it has raised a $8 million Series A round.

The round, which was led by Greycroft and included leading firms, angel investors, and Fortune 500 executives, brings Guide wheel’s total secured capital to US$12 million, which will be utilized to fuel its expansion. The funding comes as the company changes its name from Safi to Guidewheel to emphasize its value as a tool for guiding teams to manufacturing excellence.

“FactoryOps is now possible because the power of the cloud can democratize access to the tools once only available to elite manufacturers. And it couldn’t come at a more critical time,” said Guidewheel chief executive officer (CEO) and co-founder Lauren Dunford. 

“In an environment of increasing pressure and uncertainty, every manufacturer needs to get more out of the equipment they already have. Now, any factory can connect all of their machines to immediately identify and take actions to improve, and have all the tools to reach peak performance as a team. If all the world’s 10 million factories can reach maximum efficiency, the impact will be tremendous.”

“Guidewheel has built the real-time data platform we believe will help create the future of manufacturing,” said Mark Terbeek, partner at Greycroft. “It is an amazingly simple yet powerful platform that comes at a time when factory performance is so critical to survival for manufacturers and the supply chain overall.”