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October 31, 2014

5 Internet of Things start-ups to get funding this month

$50m, $23m, $10m, Series A and beyond...

By Amy-Jo Crowley

1 Digital Lumens

The startup, which provides LED lighting systems, is looking to fuel growth outside of the US and into new product areas after raising $23m in funding this week.

The firm, founded in 2008 in Boston, closed a Series C funding round on 30 October led by Nokia’s venture arm Nokia Growth Partners, Goldman Sachs, and Aster Capital.

The funding brings the company’s total to $65m and will be used to expand its light-emitting diode product and increase sales and marketing efforts.

The firm’s lighting system is based on software called LightRules, which connects sensors in LED fixtures with a learning algorithm, and is used to illuminate warehouses and other large spaces.

Using a Web-based app, users can create schedules and track energy spending to lower their energy costs by up to 90% compared to existing systems, the company claims.

"Our platform gives customers the most direct access to enterprise-scale building and energy intelligence – through the lens of their lighting network," CEO Tom Pincince said in a statement.

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"With deep roots in traditional industrial infrastructure and strong commitments to the IoT, our investors see Digital Lumens as the embodiment of the connected enterprise, and are excellent partners for our continued technology and market expansion."

2. Sigfox

The French operator has been in talks with investors this month to raise at least $50m to build a low-cost, cellular network designed for the Internet of Things.

The start-up uses ultra narrowband radio technology and existing mobile masts to provide a low-cost grid meant for connecting millions of devices such as cars, home-security systems and fridges.

With the extra funding, Sigfox claims it can extend its IoT network to half the world within two to three years. Its ‘0G’ network already covers France, Spain, the Netherlands and the UK, while a smaller network is in place in San Francisco.

"To connect such a large number of devices, there are some requirements," CEO Ludovic Le Moan told the Financial times.

"It must be cheap and it must have low energy consumption as many sensors are powered by batteries that need to last years. It needs to be easy and simple."

3. Relayr

The German startup, maker of an IoT development kit called WunerBar, took home $150,000 in funding after winning first prize at Cisco’s IoT Innovation Grand Challenge.

The firm’s WunderBar toolkit and cloud-based system called OpenSensor Cloud target software developers looking to create apps and connected devices that utilise data gathered from sensors.

It comes after the firm raised $2.3m funding from unnamed US and Switzerland-based investors in September, which will be put towards expanding its presence in the US.

4. Evrythng

Samsung this week partnered with Evrythng, a London-based start-up, which involves an investment from the smartphone giant’s Ventures Investment arm.

The amount of the investment and the specific details of the partnership are not yet known.

In a blog post, Niall Murphy, CEO of Evrythng, said: "We’re delighted to announce a new partnership with Samsung via their global investment arm Samsung Ventures Investment Corporation (SVIC), who have invested in EVRYTHNG to underpin the collaboration."

The three-year-old firm is one of the best funded start-ups out there. Back in April, it raised $7.5m in funding from Atomico, Cisco and other investors.

The firm’s plan is to give every single object in the world a unique web-addressable URL to build a social network for the Internet of Things (IoT). Its technology uses barcodes, QR codes, RFUD chips and other identifiers to connect objects to a database.

"The Samsung partnership is a powerful and important addition, and another endorsement of EVRYTHNG’s technology and vision as the right stuff for global brands seeking to make their products smart and part of the emerging Web of Things," added Murphy.

5. uBeam

The wireless power firm is looking to hire staff and develop new products after raising $23m in funding.

The three-year-old company, which makes technology that charges electric devices wirelessly, closed a Series A financing round led by Upfront Ventures alongside existing investors Andreesen Horowitz, Ludlow Ventures and Mark Cuban.

The announcement brings the firm’s overall funding to more than $12m with the first product expected to enter production within two years.

The uBeam system, developed by Meredith Perr, the founder and CEO, converts electricity into sound that are then transmitted over ultrasound to the required devices charging them in the process. This makes it possible for a device to move freely around a place, while constantly charging.

Earlier this year, the company said the system is also capable of sending data through its charging stations, meaning that the technology could possibly used to connect IoT devices in the future.

"We will start with mobile phones, but the potential is limitless – everything from hearing aids to wearables, laptops or flat screenTVs. uBeam literally has the power to untether the physical devices that have become indispensable to our daily lives."

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