Aditya Raghupathy

Investor at Schematic Ventures

Q&A with Aditya Raghupathy

Hey, Aditya! Walk us through your background:

My career journey started at Georgia Tech where I studied Industrial and Systems Engineering and is actually continuing as I start my Masters in Computer Science this upcoming spring. After college, I have been fortunate to have had a few awesome experiences. I learned different OT communication protocols by connecting to assets via Kepware and Ignition, operationalized analytics solutions to help a manufacturer increase their OEE, and led change management initiatives across the factory floor to drive greater adoption of smart factory initiatives. Outside of work, I have gotten really into photography in recent years, look to travel at any chance I get (58 countries to date), and am an obsessive soccer fan. Unfortunately, being in San Francisco means I have to wake up early to watch my favorite team Manchester United play!

What is Schematic Ventures all about?

Empowering the next generation of entrepreneurs to help build great companies across the industrial sectors. Given the focus on early-stage startups, the team at Schematic loves to nerd out and explore new products that are at the forefront of innovation across industrials.

Introduce us to one of your portfolio companies and why you invested.

Fulcrum is a modern manufacturing ERP And MES platform allowing small and mid-sized manufacturers to improve efficiency. Fulcrum delivers value through a fully digital, paperless workflow leveraging machine learning, automation, predictive analytics, and advanced heuristics to drive throughput and profitability. We invested in them for a variety of reasons, one of which being that the majority of manufacturing software vendors were established prior to 1990 and are typically characterized by an outdated UI/UX and few automated workflow capabilities.

How did you end up at Schematic Ventures?

After graduating from Georgia Tech where I studied Industrial and Systems Engineering, I joined Deloitte. At Deloitte, I was able to really get hands-on building and implementing Smart Factory solutions for a variety of different clients. After a period working on the factory floor, I was able to lead startup scouting across the Industry 4.0 sector. It was here that I came across Schematic Ventures and the great portfolio Julian and Alex had built to date. When I saw the opening, I reached out and was fortunate to join the team!

What’s your day-to-day like?

It typically stretches across a variety of things. On the investing side, it can range from conducting diligence to taking pitch calls with some extremely smart founders and entrepreneurs. On the portfolio side, given our focus on investing at the earliest stage, we will oftentimes help founders with hiring, marketing, fundraising strategy, and serve as a sounding board for them as they iterate upon ideas. Finally, on a more personal note, with whatever time I have left I try to refresh some of my Python skills!

What’s the biggest megatrend within manufacturing that you’re seeing?

Even though it feels like we have been talking about automation for years, we are starting to see the second wave in robotics. The nearly 4.6 million manufacturing jobs that will need to be filled over the next decade, combined with a tight labor market, has made the push to automation more top of mind than ever before. I believe we will see robots adopted across a variety of different functions on the factory floor from machine tending to adaptive assembly. Furthermore, I believe we will continue to see the rise of robotic orchestration platforms that integrate business applications and heterogeneous fleets of robots as well as other forms of automation.

What’s a specific example and existing startup solution along this trend?

I might be biased but Symbio. The company’s middleware lets developers use modern programming languages like Java, Ruby, and Python to create instructions for single or whole fleets of robots. The platform self-optimizes over time, letting robots improve on tasks they’ve been assigned creating a control system for all your robots across the factory floor.

In what capacity do you see on-shoring becoming a massive trend?

Given the sentiment of global customers and the necessity to hedge against supply chain disruptions, I think on-shoring / reshoring will be a massive trend. I saw a data point recently in an analyst survey stating that more than 80% of industries experienced supply chain disruptions due to the pandemic, and approximately 75% of companies are planning to accelerate their reshoring initiatives by building smart factories closer to home locations, or their customers’ point of need. To me, these are early data points highlighting the shift towards more localized production.

Who are some VCs and founders you admire?

On the Investor side, Julian Counihan at Schematic and Robin Denchant stand out given Julian's great track record across Industrials and Robin's amazing blog on the Future of Manufacturing. In terms of founders, I really admire Sunny Han and the great product he has built at Fulcrum, focused on better design and automation to enable the multi-trillion-dollar manufacturing industry to take a giant leap forward.

How do founders get in touch with you?

Feel free to reach out at aditya@schematicventures.com or connect with me on LinkedIn. I always love talking to people in manufacturing!