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Greenville Business Magazine

The Business Narrative: Lead Investment

Sep 21, 2022 04:12PM ● By David Dykes

BMW i Ventures Leads Series A Investment in Optical AI Technology Company, Alitheon

BMW i Ventures announced a lead investment in a $10M Series A round for Alitheon, an Optical AI technology company.

 Officials said the company’s FeaturePrint technology digitizes physical objects for irrefutable identification, authentication, and tracing, and eliminates misidentification and misuse of items.

 BMW i Ventures previously invested in the company’s seed round and is co-leading this round of investment alongside Imagine Ventures, a Seattle-based venture capital firm.

 BMW i Ventures is BMW’s venture capital firm, investing money and resources in startups in the fields of transportation, manufacturing, supply chain and sustainability. 

 Counterfeits are a $2.3 trillion annual problem that continues to grow globally. By using additive and antiquated solutions, such as stickers, barcodes and QR codes to identify items, companies place themselves at high risk of losing traceability and facing counterfeits, the officials said.

 They said Alitheon’s patented FeaturePrint technology creates for items what fingerprints are for people - a unique identifier that doesn’t require changes to the item.

 By capturing an item’s image with a standard off-the-shelf camera, the FeaturePrint Optical AI “sees” and renders minuscule surface details of the item into its own unique profile.

 As a result, this enables effective identification of the item among millions like it, ensuring product authenticity and provenance, the officials said.

 “The counterfeit crisis is a major cause of concern – not only for economic reasons, but even more as individual safety is concerned,” said Marcus Behrendt, managing partner at BMW i Ventures.

 Alitheon’s cutting-edge technology and ability to bring trust and safety back to supply chains is groundbreaking. After participating in Alitheon’s Seed Funding, we’ve watched the growth of the team and the rising potential of its technology, and are excited to lead its Series A as they bring their product to market.”

 Officials said FeaturePrint doesn’t require any special hardware investment, change to the manufacturing line, or physical change to the item.

 Using just a standard camera, FeaturePrint enables irrefutable authentication, identification, and traceability of individual items, the officials said.

 They said that by implementing FeaturePrint, counterfeits can be avoided, part misidentification is eliminated, and wrong-product use is minimized. In short, FeaturePrint is the missing link connecting the digital and physical worlds, the officials said.

 At the beginning of this year, Alitheon named Roei Ganzarski as its new CEO. Roei previously was CEO of magniX and executive chairman of Eviation, two disruptive companies in the aerospace and transportation industries.

 “BMW i Ventures’ confidence and continued growing investment in Alitheon highlights the need across industries for a solution that reduces both bodily harm and financial risk, by reducing the use of counterfeits, and stopping the misuse of critical parts due to human error," said Ganzarski.

 "This investment round supports our ability to scale and meet significant demand, and having BMW i Ventures in our corner makes this evermore significant.”

 Alitheon officials say they are solving identification, authentication, and traceability challenges across multiple industries, including automotive, aerospace, collectibles, industrial manufacturing, luxury goods, medical and precious metals.

 Its technology is being used by multiple customers and has been integrated into global operations.

 With the new capital, Bellevue, Wash.-based Alitheon said it aims to invest in new talent and accelerate its sales and marketing efforts to fuel its expansion of its FeaturePrint technology across more industries. 

Sticker Mule Expanding Operations in Cherokee County

Sticker Mule, a custom print and label company, announced plans to expand operations in Cherokee County.

 The company’s $18 million investment will create 50 jobs, according to the South Carolina Department of Commerce.

 Sticker Mule creates custom stickers and decals, offering turnaround and ordering services to customers worldwide. The company also specializes in labels, magnets, buttons, packaging and more.

 Located at Meadow Creek Industrial Park in Gaffney, Sticker Mule is building a new 100,000-square-foot facility that will accommodate additional production capacity to meet increasing demand, Commerce officials said.

 The expansion is expected to be complete in 2024.  

Bon Secours Receives Grant for Long Covid Research

Health care providers at the Bon Secours Diane Collins Neuroscience Institute have received a Healthy State Alliance Momentum Research Grant for $30,117 to study Long Haul Covid.

Healthy State Alliance, an initiative between Bon Secours Mercy Health and The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, awarded the grant as part of an internal program to provide pilot funding for collaborative research.

Dr. Kathleen Woschkolup, director of neurology at Bon Secours St. Francis in Greenville, will be working with Ohio State researchers in hopes of finding better treatment options for patients suffering from neurocognitive fatigue due to Covid.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, health care officials have noticed a rise in the number of patients who recovered from Covid only to find they were facing new challenges. 

Ultimately, researchers hope the study will lead to the establishment of a specific diagnosis with a standard set of therapies for other patients facing prolonged neurocognitive problems as a result of Covid.

“The hope is this money will help lay the groundwork for a larger study to be put in place. This gives them seed funding to get the framework together and ideally, within a year, they can submit for additional funding from the National Institute of Health or some other industry funding which will allow us to see how it really affects people,” said Roderick Liptrot, Healthy State Alliance clinical research manager., Southeastern Stages Partner to Expand Bus Service Throughout Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, one of the largest bus companies in North America, announced a new partnership with Southeastern Stages, a transportation provider in Atlanta and surrounding areas.

Officials said the partnership will allow for expanded service options that will connect Atlanta with 16 cities, Athens with four cities, Columbia with 19 cities, Fayetteville with eight cities, and Raleigh with eight cities.

“We’re always looking for ways to expand service offerings for our customers and this partnership with Southeastern Stages will allow us to grow our existing network considerably,” said Colin Emberson, VP Commercial for

Schedules are available, and tickets can be purchased for travel beginning on Sept. 26 at 

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