Acuity Brands, an Atlanta based electronics manufacturing company announced its acquisition of Lucid Design Group, a provider of building analytics and business intelligence platform. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Acuity looks forward to unlocking the value of the Internet of Things (IoT) capabilities in buildings by combining Lucid’s software platform with Acuity Brand’s networked sensors.
Based in Oakland, CA, Lucid provides a SaaS-based BuildingOS platform that enables users to gain insights into the operations of their buildings. Lucid has built integrations into over 180 different building data systems and services, including systems tracking utility data, building automation systems, work order systems, and property management solutions.
Acuity Brands, a leading provider of lighting and building management solutions hit $ 3.5 billion in sales in 2017. While the acquisition is not expected to have a material impact on the financial bottom line of the company this year, it will fuel growth for Acuity in years to come.
Over the past few years, Acuity Brands is transforming from a traditional lighting manufacturer into a state-of-the-art software solution provider within the IoT domain. In July 2016, Acuity made a similar acquisition of 100 percent equity stake in San Francisco-based DGLogik Inc., a provider of innovative software solutions for efficient energy usage and facility performance to enhance its portfolio of holistic IoT solutions.
Losant, an edge-to-analytics platform for enterprise IoT customers raised a $ 5.2M Series A round. It was led by CincyTech with participation from Rise of the Rest Seed fund, TechNexus, and Vine Street Ventures.
Losant’s backer $ 150M ROTR (Rise of the Rest) seed fund is itself backed by notables like Eric Schmitt, Jeff Bezos, Meg Whiteman, Michael Bloomberg, and Reid Hoffman. ROTR fund was launched by Revolution, a DC-based venture capital firm. ROTR is aimed at backing startups outside Silicon Valley, New York, and Boston area.
CincyTech, the main backer of Losant is a venture capital firm that invests in enterprise and business software apps, digital health, and life sciences.
Losant is among the nice portfolio companies being funded in ROTR’s current program. The startup’s core product is SaaS platform that consists of several modules including Edge, Helm, Aperture, Alloy and Kiln. For instance, the Edge consists of device libraries (helps in device connectivity & firmware dev), gateways, and edge compute engine. Losant also offers SDKs and APIs for industrial customers to build their own connected services using the startup’s platform.
The startup plans to use the funding proceeds to scale its IoT platform to serve more customers as it currently has several big clients like Verizon, Bosch, and Hewlett Packard Enterprise.
Google announced yesterday that it will acquire Xively from LogMeIn for $ 50M. This marks Google consolidation in the managed IoT marketplace as the latter expects 20 billion connected things to come online by 2020.
Xively allows enterprises to activate ‘connected products’ whereby its platform offers several features such as device connectivity, data management, identity management, integrations, security, and analytics. Smart home, smart energy, and connected products are typical use cases of Xively’s platform.
The acquisition will allow Google’s customers to add connectivity to their devices from the beginning as opposed to adding it as an ‘after-thought’. This will make the connection between the cloud-mobile app and ‘connected product’ more efficient and easy.
LogMeIn sold Xively to focus on ‘unified communications’ market. Two popular products it owns in the space are GoToMeeting and Join.me. Thus, the sale will give LogMeIn the much-needed cash it needs to purchase Jive communications, a cloud-based phone services company for $ 357M. LogMeIn also plans to expand its AI-powered customer engagement portfolio. The deal is even better for LogMeIn considering it bought Xively for $ 12 million in 2014.
As for Google, it gets a well-established ‘connected products’ management platform that it will upsell to its existing and new customers of Google Cloud IoT. And, Xively can itself become a ‘billion’ dollar business unit within Google as the latter’s combined cloud business generates nearly $ 1B in revenues.
Another acquisition that took place last month was that of elnfochips. It was acquired by Arrow Electronics to consolidate its IoT market via elnfochips’ 1,500 IoT solution architects, engineers, and software development resources globally.
Xperiel, an Internet of Things Augmented Reality (IoT/AR) company raised a $ 7M Series A round. Investors include Scott Cook, Co-Founder of Intuit, Cyan Banister of Founders Fund, WTI and the National Basketball Association’s Sacramento Kings.
The startup promises to help businesses reach customers via mesh-up of IoT and VR. It provides a platform called Real World Web (RWW) using Xperiel’s patented technology. It is also introducing a programming language called ROX for its RWW platform. ROX is itself based on ‘Pebbling’, a technology that Experiel claims can help build complex, multi-app, real-world services without complex coding requirements. The main goal of using this technology is to quickly create interactive, immersive digital experiences for consumers.
The closest comparison Xperiel makes is with Photoshop, Maya, or SimCity and other graphical applications. It also introduces the concept of ‘Triggers’ which the startup explains as follows:
Xperiel’s main application is in professional sports, entertainment, retail and the startup boasts having customers such as New York Jets, Sacramento Kings, Los Angeles Dodgers and Pepsico. These brands use its platform to design immersive applications that work across any device or operating system.
As IoT and VR go mainstream, startups have meshed up both technologies to create superior and more engaging experiences. Another AR/IoT startup called RealWear also closed $ 17M in new funding. The startup provides wearables incorporating VR capabilities that industrial workers can use. Tesla, Walmart, and Amazon are reported to be among RealWear’s customers.
Vancouver based startup RealWear has raised $ 13.5M (17M CAD) and seeks another $ 3M, reveals the startup’s SEC filings. The company plans to use $ 20 million investment to get its product, head-worn computers called HMT-1, into the hands of more companies.
Founded in Silicon Valley, RealWear was headquartered in Milpitas, California and shifted to Vancouver in last summer with its presence in Shanghai, China. According to Silicon Forest standards, an early stage round of $ 20 million is a huge amount of investment.
RealWear’s product HMT-1 is a hand free wearable computer that connects industrial workers in the field and helps industrial companies implement the ‘Connected Worker’ program. It’s OS is an Android 6.0.1 (AOSP) and runs on the Qualcomm Snapdragon 2.0 GHz 8-core chipset. It supports Bluetooth, WiFi and GPS. The wearable devices come packed with microphones, speakers, cameras, and additional ports.
Andy Lowery, CEO of RealWear stated that the company has pilot projects in the pipeline with large enterprises like Tesla, WalMart, Amazon, and Boeing. One of the investors is another Vancouver based company, Columbia Ventures which has invested $ 8M in the startup.
SAM, a home network cyber defense company has raised $ 3.5 million in a seed funding round. The funding was led by Blumberg Capital, a global early-stage venture capital firm, based in SF, California. SAM provides a platform that can integrate with routers, providing homeowners with an easy-to-use and secure home network.
The Tel Aviv based company has been working under stealth mode, in partnership with Israel’s largest telecom provider, Bezeq Israeli Telecom. SAM’s advisory team includes former leaders of Israel’s elite intelligence unit 8200 and founders of Team8, a cybersecurity think tank.
Led by Sivan Rauscher, Co-Founder, and CEO, SAM offers advanced features such as device fingerprinting, parental control, router protection and anomaly detection for home networks. Additionally, the company offers high-performance security in collaboration with Intel’s Connected Home Division by integrating its technology with Intel’s chipsets.
A number of high-profile data breach cases were reported in 2017. Cyber-attack victims included large enterprises such as eBay, Yahoo, Target and Home Depot, along with many health and financial institutions, media and government websites. Israel is one of the largest markets in the world to provide cybersecurity products to over 200 Israeli companies specializing in cyber defense, accounting for $ 3B worth of anti-hacking exports in 2013. About one-fourth of world venture capital-funded cyber-security startups are Israel based.
Another IoT and connected home security startup VDOO raised $ 13M in January this year. VDOO’s solution also profiles a connected device’s manufacturer, device type, network interface, OS, and software vendor.
Dish, a Denver based IoT startup announced its acquisition of Parkifi, a provider of IoT based parking solutions at an undisclosed price. ParkiFi itself had raked in $ 13.9M in funding with the latest round of a $ 9.5M Series A funding in February last year. Dish network looks ahead to jump into the world of IoT with the buyout of Parkifi. Founded in 2014, Parkifi will continue the operations by retaining its brand name after becoming part of Dish.
Dish has been planning to move into the Internet of Things and began buying up spectrum at government auctions in 2008. In April last year, the company won $ 6.2 billion worth of 600 MHz licenses. Currently, the company has $ 11 billion worth of wireless spectrum and plans to deepen its connection to the IoT and wireless worlds with the ParkiFi acquisition.
Earlier in 2017, Dish also announced building a national IoT narrowband network to let devices such as parking sensors, smart street lights, and gas meters communicate with operators more efficiently. As part of its product development, the company plans to leverage the expertise of Parkifi to test and learn as they deploy their own network is that expected to be completed by 2020.
ParkiFi provides spot-level parking data from lots, garages, and on-street parking.
Dish is not the only company to create narrowband IoT network. T-Mobile was the first wireless company in North America to launch NB-IoT last October. Verizon also has an M2M plan called LTE Cat-M over its narrowband network.
Hoopo, an Isreal-based geolocation startup announced $ 1.5 million seed funding led by a group of investors including Israeli angel investor Zohar Gilon and Ben Marcus CEO AirMap, and Mobileye, an Israeli technology company that develops vision-based advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS).
The startup also announced the official launch of the company, with the goal of creating precision geolocation solutions for low-power wide area networks (LPWA). It will exhibit the solution at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain. Hoopo, founded in 2016 will use the funding to grow the business and improve precision for the low-power Internet of Things (IoT) tracking. Hoopo’s geolocation based solution tracks assets in large areas without having to recharge batteries and provide a platform for management and real-time notifications. The customers can receive on-demand geolocation, establish geofences and receive movement alerts of their assets.
As smart city and industrial IoT use cases gain a wide acceptance, the need to have LPWA (low power wide area) connectivity has increased. Hoopo’s solution serves the need for its asset tracking device. “Hoopo is addressing a real business need of companies around the world: cost-effective, yet precise, tracking of their valuable assets with the longevity of battery life up to 10 years in the field,” said Ittay Hayut, CEO of Hoopo.
The patent-pending solution of Hoopo consists of low-cost LPWA gateways and devices, and a cloud-based platform for management of devices and real-time notifications. Interestingly, one of the use cases Hoopo lists on its website is “free-gazing cattle”, a solution which provides geolocation technologies for smart-agriculture.
Orolia, another IoT startup utilizing the LPWA technology to monitor fishing boats makes distress sensors, hence providing fishing boats a much needed search and rescue distress device.
Aquabyte, a fish-farm monitoring startup developing a smart camera system and web dashboard raised $ 3.5M seed funding. The round was co-led by NEA and Costanoa Ventures. Princeton University and the US and Norwegian investors also participated in the round.
The startup, founded by Amit Mukherjee in 2017 and headquartered in San Francisco will use the proceeds to build a team of developers and to refine its machine learning software.
Aquabyte’s solution consists of a smart camera system and web dashboard that utilizes computer vision technology. The camera is installed on a fish farmer’s net pen, and real-time farm metrics can be accessed via the web dashboard. Underwater 3D cameras and gauge parameters of temperature and oxygen help track the critical data. Typical metrics that Aquabyte’s cameras and machine learning algorithms will track include lice count, biomass estimation, appetite detection, and feed calculations.
Global fish trade was expected to hit an all-time high, and expected to rise more than $ 150bn last year, according to The Financial Times. One of the major costs incurred in fish farming is that of the feed, hence the company aims to control the feed cost using machine learning algorithms. If successful, it will help farmers to save up to 20-30% of the feed cost. The company is set to expand operations to Norway as the fish farming market is bigger in the Nordic countries as compared to the United States.
Mnubo, a company offering IoT analytics and artificial intelligence solutions to connected product manufacturers raised a $ 16.5M Series B led by HSB Group, part of Munich Re. Existing investors White Star Capital and McRock Capital also participated in the round.
Mnubo started out with a seed round in June 2012 and later raised Series A investment of CA$ 6M in May 2015.
Mnubo serves two market segments, namely the consumer and industrial segments. It sells three plans including data-as-a-service, analytics-as-a-service, and intelligence-as-a-service. The company helps its customers to make sense of their connected equipment data using its SmartObjects SaaS solution. The software solution performs key activities including data storage, clean up and enrichment, visualization and reporting. It also provides integration with Mnubo’s API. The SmartObjects solution is available on leading cloud environments such as Azure, AWS, and Google.
Product manufacturers can track sensor-based data of their products that are running in beta version and for products in advanced stages (such as early deployment and growth stage); they can track product usage statistics such as product location, feature usage, engagement trends, and downtime and lifecycle analysis.
It appears Mnubo also aims to establish itself in the HVAC (Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) market. It boasts Johnson Controls and Hitachi Air Conditioning as its customers. “Through our partnership with Mnubo, we are pioneering a data-driven strategy in the HVAC market to improve customer experience, empower our channel partners, and build out new after-market services,” said Dr. Hank Marcy, Vice President of Global Product Development at Johnson Controls – Hitachi Air Conditioning, Inc.