Why we invested in Assaia
Assaia, the apron AI technology company, uses machine learning and cameras pointing down to the stands on the apron to detect the events that make up an aircraft turn process – aircraft on stand, jet bridge connected, doors open, fuelling started, catering truck connected, push back tug connected etc.
Huge pain point and market opportunity
All travelers know these painful moments, at the airport, your plane delayed and you just know that you will miss your connecting flight and spend another night at an airport hotel away from your family. But it is not only a very unpleasant experience for the passenger, it is also a huge burden and cost for airports, airlines and environment. Actually inefficiencies and mistakes in aircraft turnaround operations are causing ground delays and damages with an annual cost of $25 billion. We believe this can and should happen much less.
Amazing team with a strong vision
This is the mission that drives the amazing Assaia team, around Max Diez, Nikolay Kobyshev and Dmitri Chugreev. They combine amazing technical skills in computer vision and machine learning with business acumen, industry insight and the strong desire to make airline operations more efficient and less painful. And of course there are few places better suited than Zurich, corse to the amazing tech talent educated in ETH, in the middle of Europe, at a major hub of Lufthansa and known for their rigorous neutrality and mentality to keep data private and save.
This comes at a time where airport operations are stressed by increasing demand and utilizations, with immense costs associated to build or extend airports (like $6 billion for the new Airport in Berlin or $12 billion for the new Beijing airport). Thus airports and airlines are right to invest in technology in order to increase efficiency but also improve on safety. In 2019 airports spend nearly $ 12 billion on IT, 20% more than just a year ago. A lot of value can be captured by working towards digital twins of airports and by generating, integrating and analyzing objective data in order to manage and optimize operations.
Great Product and Market Validation
The Assaia team brings technological disruption to the highly manual field of supervising and optimizing airport operations. By applying a combination of computer vision and artificial intelligence, managers at all levels are finally being able to gather insights into this black-box process. Airlines like British Airways and airports like London Heathrow have already started tapping into the potential of analyzing and optimizing processes at the apron.
Max Dietz, CEO and co-founder of Assaia describes our partnership as “There’s 2 types of startup investors: Those with a finance background, and those with a company-building background. I believe that entrepreneurs-turned-investors are, by far, in the best position to help early stage startups building a truly great business. Roman, Peter, and the entire capital300 team are helping us, on an almost daily basis, with advice, sharing their experiences, and hands-on support. Their support is invaluable for us.”
We are very grateful to be on board and partner with this amazing team together with some amazing investors in order to to make flying more efficient safer and more enjoyable.