GreaseBoss (YC W21) – Real-time system to manage industrial greasing

We are Steve, Tim and Pete, the cofounders of GreaseBoss ( GreaseBoss is a hardware and software system that verifies that the greasing of industrial equipment is completed on time and according to specification.

Greasing, you say? Yup, you heard that right. Incorrect greasing is the number one cause for machinery failure on industrial sites. Industrial machinery failure costs the global economy $21B a year. Greasing is a big deal!

We know this is an unsexy part of the economy, so we won’t judge you if you have never heard of a zerk (grease point) before. Some of our favourite places you can find zerks include super yachts - 200 zerks, private planes - 80 zerks, breweries - 2000 zerks, theme parks - 1500 zerks. Other places with lots of zerks include factories, mines, utilities, farm equipment, trucks and military vehicles.

The idea for GreaseBoss came when Steve and Tim saw frequent machine breakdowns due to incorrect greasing while supporting mine sites in Outback Australia. This problem costs Australian mine sites hundreds of millions of dollars in lost productivity every year - disrupted production, spending on parts and labour for repairs. We built and tested our prototypes during the pandemic lockdowns on the back deck, over Zoom calls. We have now developed our MVP and have quit our jobs to chase GreaseBoss full time.

On the hardware side: we put RFID tags that fit like washers under each zerk. These are read by a head unit that is retrofittable to existing grease guns, which includes a custom RFID reader integrated into the nozzle. It also includes a flow meter and supporting electronics. Our device has 4G, Wifi and LoRa for comms, but also operates in an offline mode for customers in remote locations. Our hardware is rugged, dust proof, and water proof for some of the toughest operational environments (and operators..)

On the software side, we record each greasing in the cloud, right as the worker greases the zerk. Since most industry is still tracking this using paperwork, you can imagine how much more efficient this is. Our customers get back to production much faster.

We are building a HaaS (Hardware as a Service - is that a thing?) business model: we charge customers upfront for the hardware and then a software subscription fee. We are experimenting with per zerk, per machine and per site pricing. We haven’t found the sweet spot yet.

We have GreaseBoss installed at a large coal mine, a quarry and on excavators at the dump in Queensland, Australia. We also have a South African greasing contractor using our system.

We will be online for the rest of the day answering your questions (we are in AEST timezone). We are very excited to receive your ideas, experiences and feedback!

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andrey azimov by Andrey Azimov