SAN FRANCISCO – Southern California startup Sift raised $17.5 million in a Series A funding round led by Google Ventures.

With the latest investment, announced June 25, Sift is expanding its staff and accelerating development of its platform to help engineers make sense of hardware sensor data.

“We have the full end-to-end data review product built, such that our customers stream data to Sift,” Austin Spiegel, Sift chief technology officer and co-founder, told SpaceNews. “There is automated analysis that executes on the data.”

Sift’s platform then generates reports, highlighting potential issues.

“There are graphs and explanations of why a certain condition appeared,” Spiegel said. “That is either used internally as a certification for releasing software or hardware, or it could be delivered to a regulator.”

Automated Data Review

Sift was founded in 2022 by former SpaceX software engineers to develop tools to accelerate the development and ensure the reliability of complex machines.

Spacecraft, in particular, have become so complex that it’s “pretty much impossible to check everything,” said Karthik Gollapudi, Sift CEO and co-founder. “You need an observability product that instruments everything and catches off-nominal conditions.”

Sift customers are focused on aviation, defense, energy and transportation. Astranis, Astrolab, K2 Space, Mach Industries, Parallel Systems and True Anomaly.

“With Sift’s advanced observability stack, we’re automating much of the manual data-review process to increase reliability while accelerating development,” Jeff Dexter, Astranis senior director of software, said in a statement. “Their platform will be a critical tool in our mission to deliver reliable, cost-effective internet to those who need it most.”

Google Ventures supplied most of the funding for Sift’s Series A round.

“At GV, we’re always on the lookout for companies tackling critical challenges in industries undergoing rapid transformation. Sift is doing exactly that for the hardware innovation space,” Crystal Huang, GV general partner, said in a statement. “Their unified observability platform is the missing piece that leading machine builders need to turn troves of sensor data into actionable insights and accelerate development.”

Next Steps

In response to demand from customers, Sift is expanding its manufacturing automation suite. Once a complex system has been assembled, companies want to link sensor data with manufacturing information.

“Imagine you have launched Falcon 9 rocket 10 times,” Spiegel said. “Each time you launch it, it might have a different set of engines, because engines were removed, refurbished and put back on.”

The goal is to see the telemetry and the manufacturing data from each engine.

“That ties into preventative maintenance use cases and better understanding the performance life of your hardware,” Spiegel said. “If you had an anomaly or a supplier recall, you can use this traceability information to help you understand what occurred or how to remediate the problem?”

Artificial Intelligence

Sift’s founders also see an important role for AI.

Aircraft often have millions of parts. Plus, they must meet complex requirements.

“We want to be able to allow engineers to query their systems,” Gollapudi said. “Is it meeting the regulations? Is it meeting the fault-tolerance requirements?”

By making it easy to conduct testing and review data, Sift tools may prompt people to test more often. Plus, the Sift platform will help automate “a lot of the regulatory compliance legwork,” Gollapudi said.

Debra Werner is a correspondent for SpaceNews based in San Francisco. Debra earned a bachelor’s degree in communications from the University of California, Berkeley, and a master’s degree in Journalism from Northwestern University. She...