What does Acerta do?
For the auto industry, embracing innovation and efficiency while maintaining the highest safety and quality standards is a top priority. Enter Acerta, whose two analytics platforms, LinePulse and AutoPulse, improve safety and reduce costs by optimizing the entire automotive lifecycle, from the assembly line to the finish line. Beyond the factory floor, Acerta’s real-time condition monitoring enables predictive analytics and health management for in-service vehicles on the road—identifying maintenance needs before they happen.
How do they do it? “Big data lets us provide both manufacturers and fleet operators the opportunity to greatly improve quality and safety monitoring,” said co-founder and CEO Greta Cutulenco. “We help leading automakers get their complex products to market faster, more efficiently, and with fewer defects by enhancing engineering domain knowledge with artificial intelligence to locate the earliest indicators of future product failures.” For fleets and autonomous vehicles, Acerta’s advanced vehicle health solutions pinpoint and predict failures before they happen, ensuring maximum utilization and efficiency of assets throughout their in-service life.
Acerta joined M12’s portfolio as a winner of the fund’s first Female Founders Competition in 2018. M12 also participated in Acerta’s Series A funding round in 2020.
What support does M12 provide?
In Acerta’s line of business, lead generation traditionally occurs at large industry events like Hannover Messe, where M12 has previously leveraged Microsoft’s presence to feature portfolio companies. Of course, the COVID-19 pandemic halted in-person events in 2020, and all but shut down the automotive industry, at a crucial period in Acerta’s growth. The company needed a way to remain top-of-mind with business decisionmakers and to connect with new potential customers remotely.
Recognizing the challenge faced by Acerta and other portfolio companies that have historically relied on in-person customer access, M12 pivoted the remainder of their annual event budget to create go-to-market funding grants for innovative digital engagements. Acerta applied for one of these grants and was quickly awarded the funding needed to host a technology panel for auto industry leaders, coupled with a virtual wine and cheese tasting.
“Our customers are used to in-person meetings and events, so access during the pandemic was more difficult. M12’s marketing grant was critical, providing us with a new way to reach potential customers,” Cutulenco explained.
Acerta partnered with Microsoft’s Manufacturing Industry Solutions Group to host the virtual event, where they discussed the digital transformation of factories and the potential of Industry 4.0 technologies to drive efficiencies and cost savings. During the presentation, a sommelier and cheesemonger joined the video conference to lead participants through tasting notes. The twist? Each participant had received a curated basket of wine and cheese from a Detroit-based culinary shop ahead of time, making the webinar a creative way to foster customer engagement and make a lasting impression.
What was the outcome?
Nearly everyone invited—over 25 top-level auto executives from the Detroit area—attended, and Acerta came away with three prospects and two partnership opportunities. “The collaboration with Microsoft made this one of our most successful events to date,” said Cutulenco. “Microsoft is a great co-marketing partner, very supportive and resourceful.”
“By the middle of 2020, it felt like we barely left the house,” said one attendee of Acerta’s virtual event. “During any other year, there’s no way I would have signed up for a webinar on a Friday evening. But this ended up being the closest thing we’d had to a date night in months. It left a really great impression.”
The feedback from attendees was so positive that Acerta and the Microsoft Industry team put together a second digital event in early 2021.
The creativity and success of Acerta and other portfolio companies that received digital marketing grants inspired M12 to offer a second round of go-to-market funding in 2021. While M12 has historically supported portfolio companies through curated and top-tier in-person events, stay-at-home mandates required innovative strategies for lead generation. M12 continues to evolve their approach to unlocking customer access, by providing what portfolio companies need most.
“I really appreciate M12’s commitment to connecting portfolio companies with customers no matter where they are—even if they’re stuck at home,” Cutulenco joked.