Chicago startup Uptake is building predictive analytics software that helps companies in rail, energy and other sectors know when their machines are going to fail, putting it in direct competition with 125-year-old industry giant General Electric. And Wednesday, the three-year-old company took its latest swipe at GE by plucking away two of its top executives.
Uptake announced that it has hired Michael Donohue and Tom Anderson, two former GE c-suite executives. Donohue held multiple c-level roles at GE Power, including chief marketing officer. He’ll serve as a vice president for energy and will lead Uptake’s utilities work.
Anderson was the VP of Enterprise Technology at GE Digital, chief information officer at GE Transportation and chief IT auditor at GE. He’s joining Uptake as product vice president.
Uptake also announced Wednesday that Alex Byrne, who was previously a principal engineer at DNV GL, will lead the startup’s research and innovation in the wind sector.
Donohue and Byrne both join Uptake’s energy team, which is headed by Sonny Garg. The energy arm of Uptake has grown this year after two Berkshire Hathaway Energy subsidiaries announced they would use Uptake’s software for their wind fleets, which account for roughly 5 percent of North America’s wind energy.
“Uptake continues to add top talent to its team that challenges what is possible,” Garg said in a statement. “Together, we’re creating a world where current turbines produce even more energy, where fossil fuel plants pollute less, and where buildings stay warmer and cooler using less energy.”
Uptake’s growth comes at an interesting time for GE’s digital business. This summer Reuters reported that GE wants its industrial software business to cut costs and raise profits. GE ran into technical problems earlier their year with its software platform Predix, which, much like Uptake, helps turbines and other machines predict when a problem will occur, according to Reuters. Those problems have been fixed, according to the report, and GE plans to focus Predix’s efforts on energy, aviation and oil-and-gas customers while scaling back from other industries.
Founded in 2014, Uptake has raised $146 million from investors like Revolution and NEA, and reached a $2 billion valuation this February. It has around 800 employees in its office at 600 West Chicago Avenue.