By Angelo Stracquatanio, CEO and Co-Founder
Today, I’m so excited to share with you that Apprentice has raised a Series C round of funding of over $100 million. Our round was led by a new investor, Alkeon Capital Management, with repeat participation from Silverton Partners, Insight Partners, and Pacific Western Bank, and a new investment by Colorcon Ventures. This brings our total funding to $142 million and represents continued belief from investors in both healthcare and high-growth tech that Apprentice can transform pharma manufacturing with modern technology.
In 2014, Gary, Alexandra, and I wanted to find a way to fix inefficiencies in the drug production process using modern technology. Our first product was Tandem, a virtual collaboration solution and wearable headset, which was designed to make remote collaboration on the facility floor possible.
As we worked with our first customers, we saw the transformative power of creating technology specifically designed for the needs and requirements of pharma. When COVID-19 first hit, we saw how Tandem went from a nice-to-have to a need-to-have to keep drug production going despite the major disruption the pandemic had on our personal and professional lives. We helped customers figure out how to continue manufacturing in unprecedented conditions and transition their operations overnight to produce totally new therapeutics - directly supporting the creation of 370 million COVID-19 doses (and counting).
Since then we’ve rapidly expanded Apprentice to keep pace with the demands of our customers; experiencing 12x annual recurring revenue growth, 516% net customer retention, and 6x increase in employee headcount.
Change is Coming
COVID-19 accelerated many existing changes - remote working, Pharma 4.0, and the rise of large molecule and cell and gene modalites - to name a few. The industry had to radically adapt the tried-and-true methods of production to both keep the lights on and meet the desperate need to produce mRNA vaccines. While the conditions of the pandemic challenged a cautious industry to change on an extraordinary timeline, these trends won’t end once the crisis is over.
We know that our customers will need to navigate these changes as they are here for the long-term. No longer will it be feasible to execute a batch on paper-based processes and we want to offer the product, services, and partnership to help the industry make this all-important transformation.
The Next Stage of Transformation
We plan to use this new capital to help our customers change for the future through three big initiatives:
- Introducing the Tempo Manufacturing Cloud: Building on the success of Tandem, we are launching the Tempo Manufacturing Cloud to serve as one platform to turn molecules into medicine. Tempo leverages the technologies proven-out by Tandem - voice recognition, AR, and AI integrated into wearable, mobile, and desktop devices - and applies it to more fully support the drug production lifecycle. Within Tempo, we will offer a manufacturing execution system (MES) and laboratory execution system (LES) that can serve across multiple teams and sites across the preclinical, clinical, and commercial stages of production.
- Expanding into Europe and Asia: With existing customers already using our technology on five continents, we plan to further expand our team internationally to serve the global operations of our customers no matter where they are.
- Continuing to grow the company: Most exciting of all, we will continue to grow Apprentice to ensure customers are successful at every step of their transformation. We take a radically different approach to partnership that starts at kickoff but doesn’t end with go-live and we will grow our R&D, Sales, and Customer Success teams so every customer is truly successful.
I know that each and every one of us will benefit from next-generation therapeutics that are produced faster and with higher quality. I know that using modern technology is the only way pharma manufacturing can make the transformation needed to produce these therapeutics. And I know that with this investment in Apprentice, we will be able to help our customers be successful no matter where they are in their journey today.