Jersey City, NJ – December 7, 2017 – Apprentice has raised $2.5 million in venture funding from lead investor Silverton Partners, along with Hemi Ventures, for its Augmented Reality solution that transports R&D and manufacturing operators, scientists and engineers to an enhanced reality in which they become masterful controllers of their work environments.
The digital empowerment platform, Affinity, has three main modules — Tandem, Manuals, and BioCapture that run on smart glasses like Microsoft HoloLens, Google Glass 2.0, Epson Moverio BT350, ODG R9 and the Vuzix M300. These modules provide users with hands-free access to remote troubleshooting tools, process and workflow aids and intelligent data capture, specifically designed to improve productivity, reliability, audit readiness quality, and safety within highly complex pharmaceutical lab and research environments.
“We don’t just augment reality; we augment human ability,” Angelo Stracquatanio, CEO and co-Founder said. “We are changing the way humans interact with intelligent technology. As a direct result of this synergistic relationship, an organization’s human capital is magnified, providing major increases in industry improvement and reliability.”
Biopharma manufacturing is a $200 billion global industry challenged by market demands for advanced research and safe product development within R&D and manufacturing environments and Apprentice clients are on the cutting edge of curing and manufacturing lifesaving products and drugs. When you are working in an industry in which losing a single batch can mean million-dollar losses, increasing efficiency and eliminating human error wherever possible becomes crucial.
Tandem is a collaborative telepresence tool that allows operators and scientists to share what they are seeing with remote vendors, colleagues or SMEs around the world. Remote viewers can see an operator’s physical working environment, assess the situation and provide immediate support and guided instruction. Tandem can also record complex procedures for future point-of-reference material. This application saves crucial time and reduces unnecessary costs associated with dispensing staff to provide in-person assistance.
Manuals is a hands-free process and workflow aid that allows operators to virtually access critical SOPs, batch records, assays, and other critical information without having to consult a physical manual or guide. Manuals utilizes augmented reality to overlay text, 3D, images and video onto an operator’s field of view. All data is logged, tracked and easily exported for audit readiness and analysis. This data provides critical insight for controlling and preventing process deviation in the future. Costly procedural errors are eliminated, and a worker’s speed, efficiency and accuracy are improved. Manuals can also be leveraged for risk-free and cost-effective training in the workforce.
BioCapture intelligently collects analog lab and manufacturing data. Through augmented reality and computer vision, this application automatically captures data while the scientist or operator is performing a task. It seamlessly captures handwriting, barcodes, QR codes, voice notes, values from digital number displays, labels, gauges and even sample volumes.
By placing critical data in one’s direct line of sight at the appropriate time, workers can easily manage batch records, assays and procedures with greater confidence, deftness and reliability, thus preventing process deviation through Apprentice technology. Companies gain insight into their human processes and physical restrictions are removed to unleash the fullest potential of operators, scientists and engineers in lab environments and manufacturing suites.
No steps need to be removed or greatly altered from the standard operating process with this solution – two significant competitive advantages that offer no adoption risk.
“We were so inspired by Apprentice’s passion for utilizing the latest technology to provide new insights into the human process,” Mike Dodd, Partner at Silverton Partners and incoming Apprentice board member said. “They are market leaders in using augmented reality to provide direct client benefits as result of the users’ enhanced operational experience.”
The Apprentice innovation was awarded Best New Product at the Interphex Exhibitor Awards and has been deployed by major Fortune 100 pharmaceutical companies across the U.S., Asia, Europe and South America. Apprentice has since expanded product implementation to industries such as small biotech, chemical, cosmetic and more.
Apprentice is currently headquartered in Jersey City, N.J., and was co-founded in 2014 by Angelo Stracquatanio, Gary Pignata and Alexandra Buttke. Apprentice has successfully executed the immediate goal of providing solutions to the Pharma/Biotech industries, while advancing its long-term vision of empowering the entire global workforce. Apprentice innovations create a synergistic relationship between technology and people, which enhances the work of scientists, engineers, and operators, further propelling company workforces to the forefront of their industries.
Apprentice’s mission is to develop a world in which multi-tech systems such as augmented reality, computer vision and machine learning are used to empower scientists, engineers and manufacturers who operate in various complex, compliance-driven environments. We have created a synergistic relationship between man and technology, in which meaningful research, lifesaving product development and manufacturing are all executed with greater control, safety, productivity, stability and reliability.