Bright ideas • Viewpoints

Finding the Bright Spots in a Dark Year: 2020 Year in Review

By Amar Hanspal, CEO & co-founder, Bright Machines

2020 was not the year we anticipated. At Bright Machines, we found ourselves editing our New Year’s Resolutions around early March as we worked to understand the entirely new set of circumstances in which we would do business this year and beyond. Even given the craziness of the year – and the unique set of challenges it presented for us as individuals and as a company – as we look back to how 2020 netted out, the Bright Machines team has much to be proud of.

Driving Resilience for Customers

For manufacturers, 2020 will be one for the history books. The disruptions in supply chain and consumer demand and the rapid shift to e-commerce will undoubtedly have long-lasting implications for the industry. For our part, we were proud to launch the Factory Resiliency Fund, committing up to $50M to help new customers take advantage of no upfront cost automation. This initiative was designed to help mitigate the financial challenges associated with Covid-19 and help manufacturers future proof factories. We also deferred costs for up to 12 months for Bright Machines Select three-year agreements devoted to assembling a medical device solution to combat Covid-19.

Despite challenges for the industry this year, manufacturing is rallying, and companies are responding to the disruptions and challenges by rethinking their approach to innovative technology like software-defined automation. 

Staying True to our Mission 

Some goals for 2020 stayed the same, even as circumstances were in flux. First and foremost, this meant bringing speed, scalability, and flexibility to manufacturers, from large contract manufacturers to smaller OEMs. I am proud that our team quickly adapted, offering not only virtual factory tours but the necessary virtual FATs and SATs. Together our global team deployed and installed 100 of our software-driven solutions to 23 factories in 12 countries, helping build routers, networking gear, vehicle entertainment centers, batteries, power tools, consumer goods, medical devices, and more. Customers like Asteelflash praised us for our simple but very well thought out approach and recognized our field operations team for knowing their business from hard-earned experience. 

Hiring the Brightest

Despite the economic uncertainty, we also continued to prioritize building out our team, knowing that manufacturers would rely on our technology to weather the Covid storm. We continued to hire the brightest minds across software engineering and field operations to improve our product and grow the business. We were incredibly successful on this front, attracting talented teammates who are just as passionate about tackling transformative ideas and reimagining manufacturing through software as the team that founded this company back in 2018. 

Achieving Accolades from the Industry

We were also proud to have received excellent industry recognition this year. 

In July, Bright Machines was named a 2020 BNEF Pioneer by BloombergNEF, included in a list of ten game-changing companies recognized for their leadership in transformative technologies. 

Bright Machines was also honored in the Inc. Best In Business 2020 list, the inaugural edition of this Inc. award recognizing the year’s most inspiring and innovative companies. The Inc. editorial team recognized our work early in the pandemic to get manufacturers back up and running after the virus upended the industry in early 2020. 

Additionally, CBInsights, together with Fast Company, called out Bright Machines on their list of 50 Future Unicorns; we were named among 30 manufacturing leaders transforming the industry by Smart Manufacturing Magazine; we made Built In San Francisco’s 50 Startups to Watch; Thomas Insights said Bright Machines was one of 7 Industrial IoT Startups You Should Watch in 2020; and Business Insider called us an enterprise startup to bet your career on in 2020. I’m appreciative of the Bright Machines team for the work they do every day and honored by the recognition. 

While this year was a vast departure from the 2020 we might have predicted back in January, we’re grateful for the continued health of our team and our business, and we feel incredibly fortunate to be in the position to support our customers with scalable automation, especially during a time of so much upheaval. We started Bright Machines to fundamentally change the way manufacturers build products – so that no disruption (however big or small) can get in the way of scalable production. This year validated that goal more than ever, and we’re proud to have been able to support our customers. While we may not be able to predict precisely what next year has in store (though I do have five predictions that we hope to see come true), we’re looking forward to another productive and even brighter 2021. 


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