SmartUQ Raises $1.8M For Simulation Analytics Software

SmartUQ, a Madison, WI-based startup that has developed software to speed up the design of a variety of products, has raised nearly $1.8 million in seed funding, according to a new filing with the SEC.

The money comes from 21 Wisconsin investors, most of them individuals, according to the document and the company.

SmartUQ, previously known as Metamodeling Analytics, was founded this year by Peter Qian, a University of Wisconsin-Madison statistics professor.

The company’s software performs what Qian calls “simulation analytics.” Essentially, it can rapidly run complex tests with multiple variables for customers that want help designing products or making business decisions. The software could allow an automaker, for example, to quickly—in seconds or minutes—run simulations to better model a new part, or could help an architect predict the energy consumption of a proposed building by modeling the thermodynamics, Qian says.

“Simulation can be time-consuming and very costly,” along with not always being accurate, Qian says of existing methods. But SmartUQ’s software can accurately run those types of tests quickly and inexpensively, while also adding a layer of analytics, he says.

In February, SmartUQ was selected as a recipient for a new program that gives six Wisconsin startups and established companies access to the nonprofit Milwaukee Institute’s high-performance computing and data storage resources, along with a grant of between $10,000 and $50,000 each. The program was funded by $250,000 each from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. (WEDC) and Milwaukee private equity firm Mason Wells.

Four months later, SmartUQ participated in the inaugural Madworks accelerator program in Madison, also backed by WEDC, which offered participating companies a grant of up to $10,000, 10 weeks of mentorship and training, office space, and access to services like graphic design and legal counsel.

Despite some early validation of its idea, SmartUQ is still a young company with a lot to prove. It has “multiple users” right now, Qian says, but next year he wants to grow the number of customers around the world. The startup must also convince potential customers across a broad group of sectors, from aerospace to pharmaceuticals, that its software will be useful for them.

The seed money should provide SmartUQ with a boost as it tackles those goals. The company currently employs eight people, Qian says, and he intends to hire another three or four in the near future. The money will also go toward sales and marketing and further developing SmartUQ’s software, Qian says.

Jeff Engel is a senior editor at Xconomy. Email: jengel@xconomy.com Follow @JeffEngelXcon

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