Artificial Intelligence (AI) is increasingly being adopted by industries around the world as organizations seek to uncover new efficiencies and capabilities. Adopters of AI are improving business processes and boosting their profitability while creating a better experience for their customers and their employees through intelligent automation.


AI systems are not just changing how we interact with our devices and digital virtual assistants; they’re also impacting production efficiencies in the manufacturing sector – and the automotive industry is no exception.


When Mercedes-Benz South Africa (MBSA) was looking to empower its plants with artificial intelligence they turned to South African tech startups. They searched for tech startups in South Africa that were great at applying machine learning in the manufacturing sector.


In the process of searching for relevant startups they partnered with LaunchLab, a startup incubator based at Stellenbosch University. It was through this process that MBSA discovered DataProphet.


DataProphet, that was founded by Frans Cronje and Daniel Schwartkopff, is now amongst companies that are empowering MBSA with artificial intelligence by using machine learning to improve productivity. The two met at UCT and were brought together by the hypothesis that machine learning would be increasingly valuable to business.


DataProphet has developed a technology now known as OMNI which is an artificial intelligence system that determines the optimal process parameter set points and control limits in any complex, multi-step manufacturing process. The result is a dynamic process control plan for engineers to eliminate defects and scrap and improve yield.


The technology developed by DataProphet has the potential to be utilised by Mercedes Benz plants globally.


According to Isaac Matsa, a Sales Executive at DataProphet, this would not have been possible without the support from LaunchLab and its programme. He said: “The programme played a critical role in connecting us as a solution provider to MBSA.”


The startup incubator, through innovation challenges, serves as a connecter between startups and corporates. It enables the corporates to have access to startups and innovators and at the same time enables startups and innovators to access the market.


LaunchLab was instrumental in bridging the gap between the startup (DataProphet) and the corporate (MBSA) through the LaunchLab Innovation Challenge. The challenge called on local tech startups to present their solutions and DataProphet was chosen as the winner.


Since then DataProphet has also secured funding from local venture capital firm, Knife Capital, which will be geared towards their growth on the international landscape, focusing on Europe, North and South America.


To participate in opportunities for local innovators to follow in the footsteps of innovators at DataProphet and also have massive support to scale their solutions, see the current challenges here.