The IoT revolution is gathering pace, impacting people’s lives and the way they interact with the everyday ‘things’ around them. According to Cisco’s 11th annual Visual Networking Index: Global IP Traffic Forecast Update, the number of connected devices will have grown nearly 2.5-fold, from 4.9 billion in 2015 to 12.2 billion by 2020, when global IoT spending is predicted to have reached $1.29 trillion, as outlined in a new IDC Internet of Things Spending Guide.
The European IoT startup scene in particular is a hotbed of innovation, attracting the interest of VC and angel investors. While continental IoT hubs have yet to be established – Barcelona and London look set to be the first – in almost every European country there are IoT startups that people are talking about.
One of Sweden’s fastest growing high-tech start-ups, H&D Wireless is an IoT cloud and platform system provider for homes and businesses. Since its launch in 2009, the Stockholm-based company has shipped more than a million Wi-Fi units for smart home and wireless multimedia solutions across the globe, and won a number of awards, including a Red Herring Global 100 listing.
Last year, H&D Wireless secured $3 million in investment from the Blasieholmen Investment Group and its network of Swedish and European private entrepreneurs and investors. The money will fund the firm’s continued global expansion and the launch of a new IoT cloud platform that allows B2B cashless payments and location tracking services. H&D Wireless has also announced plans for an IPO on NASDAQ First North this year.
British IoT startup Evrythng has developed a smart products platform that allows product manufacturers to connect their consumer products to the Web. The platform allows them to track their goods through the supply chain, as well as manage data and analytics relating to those goods along the way. The consumer can also use the Evrythng platform to interact with these products, for example, to find out how they were made, and also to access things like loyalty and reward points. Launched in the UK in 2012, the company now has offices in London, New York, and San Francisco. Its total funding to date is $34.8 million, which includes the recent Series B round of $24.8 million, led by Sway Ventures. Other backers include Cisco Investments, Samsung, Atomico, BHLP, Cisco and Dawn Capital.
Founded in Dublin in 2015, Smartfrog has developed a home security solution that allows users to monitor their home and business by simply logging into the Smartfrog app. They can connect up to ten cameras to the system, which can include laptops and smartphones. Last year, having only been launched for a year, the company closed a €20million funding round, bringing the total raised so far to €28million. VC funds e.ventures and Target Global are among the investors. The company has opened a Berlin office and currently has users in 130 countries worldwide.
Madrid-based Carriots is a global online platform for the development of IOT software, effectively a PaaS for IoT projects. The company was spun out from systems integration specialist Wairbut and its platform enables organizations to interconnect all of their smart technology, collect that all-important usage data, and communicate with bespoke apps. Among the smart city innovations the platform facilitates are opportunities for local authorities to manage the systems they operate, including lighting, energy, waste management and parking.
The French IoT start-up sector is flourishing, and one company attracting a lot of interest is Paris-based Netatmo. Launched in 2011, the company has been described as the French version of Nest. Its first device was the Weather Station for Smartphone, which enabled users to measure things like indoor air quality and weather etc. A couple of years later came their second product, the Thermostat for Smartphone. In 2015, Netatmo launched Welcome, a smart home security camera incorporating face recognition technology. That same year Netatmo raised €30 million, one of the largest funding rounds secured by a French hardware maker, which was led by building infrastructure solutions specialist Legrand.
It is a sign of Romania’s maturing startup ecosystem that more and more new tech founders are focusing on IoT, wearables and other fourth industrial revolution technologies. One is DeviceHub, a platform that enables users to link their real world devices to the internet, monitor their activity, and control them remotely, effectively connecting manufacturers and industry to the IoT. There are applications for both home and business, with a focus on smart metering, fleet management, home automation, IoT makers and wearables. Founded in 2013, DeviceHub has received €80,000 in funding from hub:raum Krakow, Deutsche Telekom’s Innovation Hub for the CEE region. The company boasts a community of over 2,000 active developers who have contributed to the platform.
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