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.
Shoof Technologies, a startup providing wireless technology for the Industrial IoT raised $ 4.5M in seed funding. Kleiner Perkins and Modiva Japan led the round.
Shoof’s manufacturing and logistics customers will be able to use the solution for indoor and outdoor asset monitoring and tracking in early 2018. Shoof Tech’s solution consists of a cloud platform and equipment – including base stations and tags. With the current funding, Shoof plans to focus on manufacturing and transportation sector.
The startup’s primary focus in tracking indoor assets as the current wireless technologies such as GPS and cellular connectivity put a lot of strain on sensor battery. The batteries die out in a few hours making the solution inadequate to withstand the ruggedness of industrial settings. This is where Shoof Tech’s solution can fill the gap and provide round the clock industrial-grade internet connectivity to expensive assets.
“We are excited to partner with such reputable firms who share our vision of empowering the supply chain and logistics industries with efficient asset-monitoring and tracking connectivity technologies,” said Ra’ed Elmurib, CEO, Shoof Technologies. The startup operates on a ‘subscription-based’ business model whereby its customers incur a monthly recurring fee hence saving the latter from significant infrastructure set-up costs that any industrial-grade IoT solution requires.
Another asset intelligence startup Alchemy IoT recently raised $ 4M in seed investment.
NUMA, a Paris-based international technology, innovation, and startup incubator with presence in more than 11 cities throughout the world has launched NUMA Angers IoT, the manufacturing and business acceleration program dedicated to IoT startups. The accelerator has called for applications, open until February 21st, for the first program that begins from Mid-April 2018.
The five-month program is aimed at European startups with a functional prototype. The admitted startups will get help from entrepreneurs and experts in residence in design, sales and marketing. NUMA Angers IoT will also provide full-time access to industrial-grade machines and specialized staff to help with design, sourcing, manufacturing, specs, certifications, etc. to build a pre-series during the program. Each five-month program will have eight startups with an investment of €80,000 for each of the 8 selected startups.
“NUMA’s expertise in acceleration is orchestrated here with intense technical support. Precious resources to develop an industrial pre-series and a solid business approach”, said Romain Amblard, Partnerships Development Director at NUMA. The expansion of NUMA accelerator’s footprint in west France indicates its objectives to make the region a European reference in connected objects.
While the US has numerous IoT product startup incubators and accelerators, from Alchemist IoT Accelerator in San Francisco and Bolt in Boston to the New York-based/GA Connected Devices accelerator, it is NUMA that’s bringing silicon-valley style discipline in accelerating the European startups. With French president Emmanuel Macron as the cheerleader-in-chief for the French startup incubation, we will see more number of connected-products startups churned out by NUMA every five months.
C3 IoT, an AI and IoT software platform for digital transformation last week raised $ 100M in new funding. The company, formerly known as C3 Energy, previously raised $ 70M in Sep 2016 followed by a Series E round in Feb, 2017 that valued the company at $ 1.4B. Its total funding has reached $ 223 million since it was launched in 2009.
C3 IoT’s latest investment came from the founder Tom Siebel and Pat House, Tom’s co-founder at Siebel Systems. Existing backers TPG Growth, Breyer Capital and Sutter Hill Ventures also participated in the round.
C3 IoT’s core product is a platform as a service (PaaS) for rapidly developing and operating big data, predictive analytics, AI/machine learning, and IoT software as a service (SaaS) and apps. The company also offers configurable and extensible applications on top of its platform.
Some of the core applications C3 IoT has built on its PaaS include apps for predictive maintenance, energy management, sensor health management, and fraud detection.