mcrock sept 22 2020 mcrock joins clearpath

McRock Joins Clearpath Robotics’ US$34 Million Series C Round

Toronto, Ontario–(September 22, 2020) – McRock Fund II LP, the latest Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT)  venture capital fund managed by McRock Capital, announced today that it has joined the previously  announced Series C financing in Kitchener-based Clearpath Robotics (Clearpath). McRock’s USD$5M  participation increases the Series C round to USD$34 million. McRock joins Kensington Private Equity  Fund, BMO Capital Partner, EDC, iNovia Capital and RRE Ventures. Whitney Rockley, Co-founder &  Managing Partner from McRock has joined Clearpath’s Board of Directors.  

Clearpath and its OTTO Motors division, enable the world’s largest companies to create safer and more  productive workplaces with autonomous mobile robots (AMR). This funding will be used to expand  Clearpath’s global network of delivery partners and accelerate its product roadmap for enterprise  customers with emphasis on its industry-leading autonomous technology. 

“We are excited to welcome McRock as an investor and a partner in Clearpath given their strong focus  and experience in industrial automation.,” said Matthew Rendall, Clearpath Robotics CEO and Co-founder.  “Their track record of scaling hardware and software businesses focused on large industrial markets  attracted us to their team.”

“We have been following the exciting progress of Matt Rendall and the team at Clearpath for years,” said  Whitney Rockley, Co-founder of McRock Capital. “Not only are they a global leader in providing safety  certified and rugged AMRs but they have extremely broad and deep bench strength in autonomy and  navigation, which is the future of transportation across a broad array of sectors”. 

Over 70% of Clearpath’s AMRs are installed in Fortune Global 500 companies, including GE, Toyota, Nestle,  and Berry Global. Since the Pandemic began, Clearpath has also seen a surge in demand from essential  businesses responding to increased operational risks associated with COVID-19, including food, beverage  and medical device manufacturing. 

About Clearpath Robotics – Founded in 2009, Clearpath Robotics established itself as a pioneer in  autonomous robotics when it developed one of the world’s first platforms for robotics research. Today,  the Clearpath Robotics platform is used to support robotics innovation in mining, military, agriculture,  aerospace, and academia. In 2015, the company established the OTTO Motors division to focus on the use  of autonomous mobile robots for materials handling in warehouses and factories. 

Visit and or follow on twitter @ClearpathRobots 

About McRock Capital – McRock is the first dedicated Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) venture capital  fund manager focused on the intersection of sensors and software in large industrial markets and smart  cities. The McRock team has a unique background of building high-growth venture-backed IIoT companies  while also having worked in the power, water, oil and gas industries. McRock is backed by several leading  institutional investors and global corporations including Cisco Systems, Caterpillar, Shell, Mitsubishi,  AspenTech and Électricité de France (EDF). 

Visit and follow on Twitter @McRockCapital

mcrock 3 sept 13 2020 demystifying pop culture

Demystifying the pop culture of venture capital – a summer intern’s perspective

When I started my summer internship at a venture capital firm a few months ago, I had a vague idea about how VC worked, mostly derived from pop culture, such as the HBO hit show Silicon Valley.  I never really paid attention to it, mostly because of the insistence of pop culture and tech to portray the industry as something only for the mega-rich and their money managers. But the past couple months at McRock Capital have transformed that vague sense into a firm understanding and helped open my eyes to a world I now know I knew very little about. It was a steep learning curve to say the least, but here’s a couple of things that I quickly learned that really stood out and surprised me.

1. It’s a people business
All aspects of venture capital from deal sourcing to deal making to managing portfolio companies require having and maintaining good working relationships with people. As much as you need to have good business and financial sense, you also need to have really great people skills to have any sort of sustained success or longevity, and in truth, any enjoyment in the work you do. You rely heavily on your network of entrepreneurs, peers in the VC world, and co-workers. Without having good working relationships with all these people, it becomes nearly impossible to get anywhere.

2. You’re never not learning
At its core, venture capital is all about curiosity and learning. You are learning about companies in the sectors your firm is interested in. You are learning about how different companies operate, what makes their solutions or products different from their peers and competitors, and how macrotrends will shape their businesses in the years to come. Part of the job description of anyone in venture capital is being a constant and curious learner. And ironically, the more you know, the more you figure out how much you don’t know, which for most people, is a self-sustaining loop that pushes you to not fall behind.

3. Don’t stretch yourself too thin
There are so many companies out there. There are thousands of ideas, solutions, products, and pitches and that’s just in North America. There are multiple more companies in Europe, Africa, the Middle East, East Asia, South America, Australia, and in every other part of the world. Those companies are also in different stages and cycles of growth. It’s impossible to be an expert on everything so be a specialist. Most people in VC spend their entire careers on one focus area, and sometimes one investment stage in that focus area. Being a generalist is fine (sometimes) but being a specialist will take you a long way.

4. Communication, communication and more communication
The ability to effectively communicate is a skill needed in almost every type of job and industry, but it is especially true in VC. You need to be able to communicate your thoughts, your ideas, what’s holding you back, what you’re excited about, what makes you feel great, and what makes you feel uneasy. And you need to communicate all of that CLEARLY. There are so many different crucial lines of contact that need a clear gauge on your own thoughts from your bosses to portfolio companies to potential investments to even other firms and LP’s (a VC’s investor). You need to be sure to communicate what you want and need or else that lack of clarity will snowball into much bigger issues really quickly.

5. Have a process and trust it:
Your decision-making process, whatever it is, is incredibly important. What are your criteria for investment? What criteria do you have for management teams, for solutions, for financials, for yourself? How you make decisions on what to invest in and what not to invest in and making sure to trust your decision and not second guess it is crucially important not just for your own success, but for your own well-being and sanity. This process serves as a routine for you and allows you to focus on the process rather than the outcome. In basketball, players spend their entire careers having the same free throw routine and mastering it, so no matter if it is in practice or in the last second of a tight game, players have the same process that they trust and know that will lead to the outcome they want, no matter the situation. Humans can agonize over decisions for years after, which is terrible for your psyche and mental health, but if you have a trusted process you won’t beat yourself up as much. You’ll be able to say, “such is life!”.  

There are so many things to be said about the VC world, and so many more lessons I’ve learned personally, but my eyes have been opened and I have realized that a career in venture capital is attainable and extremely interesting.

McRock Capital provides paid summer internships to recent graduates and young professionals from underrepresented minorities in the venture capital industry to educate them on a potential career in the sector and provide practical work experience. McRock was founded with Diversity & Inclusion as a key pillar of its culture. The McRock Summer Internship Program integrates candidates into many aspects of the VC business with frequent interactions with all members of its investment team including the co-founders.

mcrock june 4 2020 mcrock fund ii reaches 112m

McRock Fund II Reaches $112 Million Adding AspenTech and Fonds de solidarité FTQ as Investors


Toronto, Ontario–(June 4, 2020) – McRock Capital has held a subsequent close on its latest venture capital fund, McRock Fund II LP, dedicated to investing in the global trend around the Industrial Internet of Things  (IoT). The fund has exceeded its target reaching $112 million with the announcement of new  commitments from Aspen Technology (“AspenTech”), a global leader in asset optimization that is  embedding artificial intelligence throughout industrial processing environments, and the Fonds de  solidarité FTQ (the “Fonds”). McRock Fund II was launched in 2019 with participation from Cisco  Investments, Caterpillar Ventures, Shell, Mitsubishi Corporation, BDC Capital, Export Development  Canada, Teralys Capital, Alberta Enterprise Corporation, HarbourVest, Kensington Capital Partners and a  large pension fund. 

“AspenTech is accelerating the time to value from digital transformation initiatives with the next  generation of industrial-strength AI,” said Antonio Pietri, President and CEO of Aspen Technology. “We  were impressed by the expertise of McRock during recent acquisitions and look forward to working with  the team.”  

AspenTech previously acquired two of McRock’s portfolio companies. In July 2019, they announced the  acquisition of mnubo, a Montreal-based provider of purpose-built artificial intelligence (AI) and analytics  infrastructure for the IoT. 

“We are pleased to join world-class investors and corporations in McRock’s new fund,” said Emil Savov, Vice President, Investments – Venture Capital, at the Fonds. “The Montreal area is one of the leading AI  clusters in the world with emerging start-ups like mnubo, a company in which both the Fonds and McRock 

invested. Our investment in McRock fits well with our strategy to further support Internet of Things enterprises that can help SMEs adopt new advanced technologies.” 

“Now more than ever, accelerating automation and digital transformation in industrial sectors is critical  to maintaining and optimizing production,” said Whitney Rockley, Co-founder and Managing Partner of  McRock Capital. “By adding a world leader in asset optimization through AspenTech and a highly reputable  financial institution through the Fonds de solidarité FTQ, we continue to enhance our powerhouse of top 

tier investors in McRock.” 

About AspenTech 

Aspen Technology (AspenTech) is a global leader in asset optimization software. Its solutions address  complex, industrial environments where it is critical to optimize the asset design, operation and  maintenance lifecycle. AspenTech uniquely combines decades of process modelling expertise with  artificial intelligence. Its purpose-built software platform automates knowledge work and builds  sustainable competitive advantage by delivering high returns over the entire asset lifecycle. As a result,  companies in capital-intensive industries can maximize uptime and push the limits of performance,  running their assets safer, greener, longer and faster. 

For more information, visit 

About the Fonds de solidarité FTQ 

The Fonds de solidarité FTQ is a capital development fund that channels the savings of Quebecers into  investments. With $16.7 billion in net assets as at November 30, 2019, the Fonds has helped create and  protect more than 215,000 jobs. The Fonds has over 3,100 partner companies and upwards of 700,000  shareholders-savers. 

For more information, visit  

About McRock Capital 

McRock is the first dedicated Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) venture capital fund manager focused on  the intersection of sensors and software in large industrial markets and smart cities. The McRock team  has a unique background of building high-growth venture-backed IIoT companies while also having  worked in the power, water, oil and gas industries. McRock is backed by several leading institutional  investors and global corporations including Cisco Systems, Caterpillar, Shell, Mitsubishi, AspenTech and  Électricité de France (EDF). 

For more information, visit and follow on Twitter @McRockCapital Media: 

Scott MacDonald 

McRock Capital  

647 478 9337 ext 1

mcrock may 20 2020 mcrock leads 10m financing in tt

McRock Leads $10 Million Financing for AI-Driven Document Intelligence Company ThoughtTrace

Toronto, Ontario–(May 20, 2020) – McRock Fund II LP, the latest Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT)  venture capital fund managed by McRock Capital, announced today that it has led the US$10 million  financing in Texas-based ThoughtTrace, Inc. The round included investments from Chevron Technology  Ventures and existing investor Altira Group. Scott MacDonald, Co-founder & Managing Partner from  McRock has joined ThoughtTrace’s Board of Directors. 

ThoughtTrace’s AI-powered Document Intelligence platform enables organizations to uncover valuable  information buried in contracts and documents in a fraction of the time and cost it would take using  traditional review methods. In addition to massive productivity gains, companies that have harnessed this  power have drastically reduced OPEX, minimized corporate risk, and even discovered new opportunities  worth millions to the bottom line. 

“We are extraordinarily excited to have both McRock and Chevron join the team. McRock brings a great  background in the industrial space, which we see as a great fit. In the case of Chevron, they went from  being a new customer in 2019 to an investor in 2020.,” said Nick Vandivere, ThoughtTrace CEO. “With the  new capital raise, ThoughtTrace will accelerate its investment in creating AI with unparalleled speed and  accuracy, grow strategic partnerships and platform integrations, and add to its existing team of talented  professionals, all of which will bring further value to the growing ThoughtTrace customer-base.”

“As the digital strategy of industrial companies becomes even more important in the current market  climate, being able to use AI software to discover critical information in thousands of unstructured text  documents quickly and cost effectively is transformational,” said Scott MacDonald, Co-founder of McRock  Capital. “ThoughtTrace allows a company to expand the data analytics from a physical asset to the  documentation that governs that asset such as a Power Purchase Agreement for renewable energy”. 

Since the 2017 initial product release serving the domestic energy sector, ThoughtTrace has seen  aggressive growth year-over-year through expanding energy offerings as well as moving into new vertical  markets. Today, the ThoughtTrace technology is trained by subject-matter-experts to serve a wide array  of industries including manufacturing, real estate, technology, legal, telecommunications, oil and gas, and  renewable energy. 

About ThoughtTrace – ThoughtTrace creates the only industry-specific Document Intelligence and  Contract Analytics platform that delivers value on day one with minimal training and setup. Leveraging  AI/ML as a complement to human expertise, the ThoughtTrace platform identifies critical obligations in  contracts exponentially faster and with greater accuracy than traditional methods. The ThoughtTrace  platform reads, organizes, and surfaces data that gives users operational agility, actionable insights, and  decision-making superpowers.  

Visit or follow on twitter @ThoughtTrace  

About McRock Capital – McRock is the first dedicated Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) venture capital  fund manager focused on the intersection of sensors and software in large industrial markets and smart  cities. The McRock team has a unique background of building high-growth venture-backed IIoT companies  while also having worked in the power, water, oil and gas industries. McRock is backed by several leading  institutional investors and global corporations including Cisco Systems, Caterpillar, Shell, Mitsubishi and  Électricité de France (EDF). 

Visit and follow on Twitter @McRockCapital

mcrock feb 14 2020 top 5 trends in the iiot

Top 5 Trends in the Industrial IoT

Who owns the ‘T’ of the Aye Aye Oh Tee!

The new year’s got McRock Capital’s Research Squad cracking its knuckles, ready to crystal ball the biggest trends that could influence the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) in 2020.
Now that the hoopla around IoT has settled, a lot of companies have started treating it as less of a buzzword and more of a way to accelerate their growth trajectory. Consequently, we’ve identified five trends we think will dominate the industry this year, transforming the digital landscape as we know it.

IoT and ClimateTech—Mother Earth is on FIRE

Mother Earth is heating up in an unprecedented way; it’s DEFCON 1, people!

As more countries start to take the threat seriously and strive towards sustainability, green technology is expected to take the lead in reducing waste and energy consumption while facilitating effective resource utilization. However, the high cost of implementation and dearth of awareness can impede the growth of the green technology and sustainability market. To combat this, we expect Industrial IoT to play a major role, since its entire premise is based on improving productivity, reducing uncertainty and providing greater visibility to all stakeholders.
Several Industrial IoT solutions have the potential to optimize processes, streamline operations, reduce emissions and create a positive impact on the environment. Take agriculture for instance. By employing ground humidity sensors and leveraging environmental data, farmers can accurately gauge the amount of water required to irrigate their land, minimize the use of exorbitant chemical products and increase crop output.
In a similar vein, electricity demand for a city or an industrial complex can be anticipated so that requisite energy is delivered to less populated areas. Even waste management is being revolutionized, thanks to cyberphysical systems. For example, Songdo, a smart city in South Korea, has integrated IoT and sensors to bolster its waste management system. In fact, the city aims to recycle 76% of its waste by 2020
We think corporations, governments, and tech companies are well on their way to partnering like never before to play their part in making a difference. Solutions addressing electrification in mobility, adaptive traffic control to reduce emissions in megacities, and waste management will gain unprecedented attention in 2020.

Predictive Maintenance #FTW—I Appeared, I Predicted, I Solved

With predictive maintenance and Industrial IoT working in tandem, disparate systems and assets can connect, capture, identify, share, analyse and act upon data that require attention.

We crafted the body of the IoT over the past decade, now we are building its mind. 

Predictive maintenance, which employs condition-monitoring equipment to evaluate performance in real-time, is not a new concept. However, the key to optimizing it is IoT. With predictive maintenance and Industrial IoT working in tandem, disparate systems and assets can connect, capture, identify, share, analyze and act upon data that require attention. 
At the risk of sounding poetic, predictive maintenance is the utopia of asset optimization—a beautiful dream that all operators and CxOs in the industrial space fantasize about. 
Since the inception of McRock Capital in 2012, we have tracked the number of sensors that have been shipped. Their Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) has finally come down from its previous triple-digit growth to 92%. Moreover, we have also seen machine-to-machine (M2M) communication soar. To us, this signifies that industrial machines and devices are now equipped with sensors and can communicate with the web by themselves.

Thanks to a surge in predictive maintenance, we can now start making sense of data using Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) models. Rest assured, though, machine whisperers (aka plant operators) are not being replaced, just augmented, as predictive maintenance solutions will continue to evolve and become part of the overall maintenance workflow.
In fact, with better quality of data and advanced AI and ML models, the workflow will become semi-supervised, and inevitably, unsupervised. In simple terms, we won’t have to pore through data as much as we have in the past. The software will figure it out by itself. Predictions will become much more accurate, insightful and faster than we have ever experienced.

The Future is 5G–Mo’ G’s, not Emojis😀😃😄😁😆😅😂🤣😊😇🙃

5G, in congruence with IoT, is already powering the Fourth Industrial Revolution; much like steam, electricity, and silicon powered the previous three.

There’s a storm coming, Mr Wayne. It’s called 5G.

The ubiquitous smartphone and the advent of 4G have already metamorphosed the way we communicate. With 5G, we are on the threshold of the next generation of mobile communication. 5G, in congruence with IoT, is already powering the Fourth Industrial Revolution; much like steam, electricity, and silicon powered the previous three. This revolution is blurring the divide among the physical, biological and digital worlds that comprise AI, 3D printing, genetic engineering, and varied technologies. With enhanced capacity and accelerated response time, 5G is a solid foundation for this transformation.
We predict that this year, the private adoption of 5G will accelerate and take over its public deployment, yet have more machines as its customers than humans. Billions of devices will come to life, connect and exchange data at speeds we’ve never experienced. The biggest reason 5G networks will demand AI to do so is that they’re much more complex than previous-generation networks. In November 2019, multinational networking and telecommunications giant Ericsson estimated that by the end of 2025, 5G will have 2.6 billion subscriptions covering up to 65% of the world’s population. It went on to state that the number of cellular IoT connections will reach 5 billion worldwide, up from 1.3 billion then. If that’s the number of connections humans will use, think of the number machines will. Unimpressed? What if we tell you that there are about 38.5 billion connected IoT devices worldwide as compared to 9.5 billion mobile phones right now?
Let that sink in. Not only will the smart brick in your hand connect to 5G, but so will everything from autonomous vehicles and robots to industrial pumps. Industrial and urban infrastructure will enable the 5G network and influence the rollout of Automated Guided Vehicles, real-time edge analytics for more secure operations, video surveillance, etc.

Industrial Robotics will Transcend the Everyday–Domo Arigato, Mr Roboto

Industrial robots are transcending the world of manufacturing and supply chain/logistics because they have proven their worth in addressing the labour shortage and undertaking perilous tasks.

The robots are coming and the industrial jobs they are doing may surprise you!

Industrial robotics has remarkably changed in the past few decades. Customarily, robots are tailored for a certain task at hand, and industrial robots have revolutionized the manufacturing industry because they offer several bottom-line benefits. At the top of this list is efficiency. The robots synthesize speed and uptime to bring about higher production capability at reduced costs.
Moreover, industrial robots, when programmed accurately, are scalable—vastly improving the consistency of production, the quality of the product, and helping reduce waste. They also deliver excellent returns on investment (ROI) despite the high initial cost.
These robots are now transcending the world of manufacturing and supply chain/logistics because they have proven their worth in addressing the labour shortage and undertaking perilous tasks. However, in emerging markets, where robots have not yet made a disruptive impact, robotics companies can still get by with single-point solutions.
Either way, industrial robots will eat away at cobots in conventional industries. New sensors that can be applied to faster industrial robots will make them smarter, reliable and more cost-efficient. A word of warning to our little cobot friends: resistance is futile. 

Edge Computing will Bring the World Closer–The Scorpions got it right… We are Walking on the Edge

Self-driving cars are an excellent example of edge computing as Tesla’s Model X autopilot controls the distance from the lead car and centres the vehicle in the lane.

Who’d a thunk that the 80s anthem will be so relevant in the industrial context by 2020? 

For our intents and purposes, ‘edge’ refers to literal geographic distribution. So edge computing is just computing that takes place at or near the data’s point of origin, rather than in the cloud. But fear not, the cloud is not going away any time soon; in fact, it is coming closer to you by transforming the way data from millions of devices around the world are processed. The dramatic growth of IoT and a slew of new apps needing real-time computing power is powering edge-computing systems.
Edge computing has gained momentum, as evidenced by the recent acquisition of the edge AI startup, Xnor, by Apple. Despite the current shift from centralised/cloud to edge architecture, the two share a symbiotic relationship. The faster network of today (to which 5G is a contributor) facilitates edge-computing systems to support real-time applications.
As we process and compute more data in real-time, edge computing will become more pervasive in the industrial setup and enable the execution of most mission-critical processes and functions, including self-driving cars and video analytics.
So, here we are, on the Edge with our 5Gs and Predictions. Mother Earth, forgive us. Mr Roboto, help us. Time to roll up our sleeves and dedicate 2020 to individuals and organizations that have the courage to do their part and change the world.
Author: McRock Research Squad