SmartUQ Raises $750K More to Develop Simulation Analytics Software

SmartUQ, a Madison, WI-based startup whose software allows users to test the performance of parts and products before manufacturing them on a large scale, has raised $750,000 in equity financing, according to an SEC filing.

Peter Qian, SmartUQ’s founder and chief scientist, says some of the new funding will go toward research and development, as well as sales and marketing efforts. There are also plans to add staff. Qian, a professor of statistics and industrial and systems engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, says that he’s hoping the company will grow to between 30 and 50 employees by the end of 2017. He declined to reveal SmartUQ’s current headcount, but says it is in the process of filling up to five new software programming and business development positions.

Twenty investors participated in the round, according to the regulatory filing. Qian says they’re all returning investors—SmartUQ raised nearly $1.8 million in late 2014—and have some sort of connection to the Badger State. “They’re either in Wisconsin now or they’ve been in Wisconsin before,” he says.

The software developed by SmartUQ, which Qian launched in 2014, helps engineers and designers accelerate product development by allowing them to rapidly conduct complex tests that account for variables like materials strength, heat and other energy forms, and natural forces. SmartUQ’s set of applications also includes a layer of analytics, Qian says.

“What we do is unique analytics for simulations, physical testing, and complex systems,” Qian says. “One of the benefits of SmartUQ is the ability to quantify all kinds of uncertainties in data and manufacturing.”

Qian declined to reveal the names of any of the organizations that use SmartUQ’s software, but says they are Fortune 500-sized companies in industries such as aerospace, semiconductors, automobiles, and defense.

SmartUQ, whose name stands for “uncertainty quantification,” may seek additional outside investment in the future, Qian says. However, he says his team is concentrating on adding users and bringing in more money.

“This is a round to get us to more significant revenues,” Qian says. “The focus of the company right now is to grow to a large revenue base first before we think about anything else.”

During a pitch event last August at Forward Festival in Madison, a conference for entrepreneurs from around the Midwest, Qian told audience members that the startup was expecting revenues to total about $1.2 million in 2015.

Still, Qian acknowledges that like most entrepreneurs who raise capital, the ultimate goal is to cash out.

“Eventually, there must be an exit,” he says.

One way Qian hopes to get to that point is by signing more Wisconsin-based business customers, he says.

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