Why we invested in DCbrain

By Fabio Lancellotti, Partner at Aster

DCbrain just announced the finalization of their first institutional fundraising which was led by Aster alongside Bpifrance, InnoEnergy and a private investor. DCbrain is an AI powered solution that provides operators of complex networks with a comprehensive vision of the different physical flows and that can offer a solution to the variety of challenges that might materialize when operating those networks.

Why the time is right for DCbrain

The company was created in 2014. After a couple of years of experiencing the utilities and logistics operators market and enforcing their technical support, DCbrain has found an engaging route using Artificial Intelligence to optimize flows, prevent anomalies and create network evolutions. We met the company last year during a couple of events and we’ve been immediately impressed with their achievements in a bootstrap manner and their proper vision of the market, especially regarding the challenges ahead for complex network operators.

Drawing on this, the main question was to decide to what level we should to get involved. For investors, it’s sometimes easier to answer to the founders: “look, it’s interesting but it’s too soon for us”. However, this time, we felt we had to join the adventure from an earlier point: the more we were spending time with the founding members, the more we were convinced by the fact that DCbrain has the potential to become a game changer for large industrial sectors that deal with complex networks – and proof has already been made by their early commercial wins achieved without any funding.

Why Aster believes in it

Today, DCbrain is selling to large corporates that are dealing with complex networks. Classical tools have been designed to secure networks, but they typically fail when it comes to network’s daily management. DCbrain has built a solution to balance the networks’ flows to address not just security but also additional key needs, for instance i) optimize the operating budget and decrease the associated costs and ii) manage capacities to allow higher volumes, all in a real time manner. This way DCbrain allows customers to react quickly to unforeseen events, such as technical faults/failures, changing weather conditions, strikes, etc.

In addition, we also see some reinforcing trends that will increasingly call for new ways to manage large and complex networks:

  • in the case of Utilities, we see more and more complexity as more distributed intermittent capacity and prosumer consumption endpoints get connected;
  • in the Logistics, we see an increasing level of demand from more sophisticated clients, and thus new challenges such as the management of peak times and short time delivery;
  • regarding Industry 4.0, we see the need to identify anomalies and gain productivity to optimize the operating processes.

At Aster we strongly believe that the process of energy transition and the acceleration of the decentralized economy are creating enormous pressure on the way we manage physical networks. The need to manage increasing complexity and to react fast to unplanned changes, call for sophisticated capabilities of generating meaningful information from an increasing quantity of data.

Why it’s a match

DCbrain AI driven technology is in our view quite unique in enabling network managers to take advantage of the data available to respond efficiently to the challenges of current and future physical flows, responding appropriately to the customer’s needs, being top line or cost efficiency related.

We also believe that such a company suits the Aster model well. Our goal and mission are to act as a catalyst thanks to our ecosystem of industrial partners. We will stand by the company to support its ambitions to become the reference player of AI driven solutions for large and complex networks for a variety of industries. Through our Business Hub organization, we will support the company to generate and finalize commercial opportunities within and beyond our family of Corporate Sponsors.

We want to thank again Arnaud, Benjamin and François, the three co-founders of the company for becoming members of the Aster family and we look forward to joining forces to help you achieve your ambitious goals.