Investors have poured billions of dollars into internet of things (IoT) companies in venture capital (VC) financing deals.
So what is IoT? It is an umbrella term for the ability to connect everyday physical objects with other devices over the internet, enabling them to send and receive data. Those everyday devices could be anything from fridges and watches to cars and toilets.
The technology is ubquitus in projects such as the Scottish government’s rollout of a remote transport system for rural roads maintenance.
“IoT is still a fairly new market – but one that has huge potential. It is subject to rapid growth and encompasses extremely diverse technologies,” reported system integration company Reply. “IoT has been labelled as the power behind the fourth Industrial revolution.”
It is hardly surprising, then, that investors are eagerly backing IoT ventures, just like they are injecting money into metaverse companies and fintech startups.
We have dug up the 10 biggest IoT VC funding deals, through looking at data from GlobalData’s Technology Intelligence Centre, to better understand this booming section of the tech industry.
Enable Injections secures $215m in wearable drug delivery deal
In January, Enable Injections bagged the biggest VC deals seen in the IoT space so far this year. The US-based wearable drug delivery system company enables self-administration of high viscosity and high volume therapeutics.
The company secured $215m in a Series C funding deal, led by Magnetar Capital. The deal also highlights the overlap between the IoT industry and the budding medical metaverse where healthcare professionals use the latest technology to train themselves and to care for patients.
“This financing will provide additional resources to onboard important new pharma partner programs and accelerate our commercialisation programs and platforms with existing pharma partners,” said Tim Flaherty, EVP and CFO at Enable Injections, in a statement. “Enable is a stronger company with Magnetar as a strategic partner, with its thoughtful approach to healthcare investing.”
Axonius raises $200m
Axonius is a US-based cybersecurity company. It raised $200m in March at a $2.6bn valuation. Axonius provides solutions to cybersecurity problems and helps other companies uncover gaps in its security solution coverage and automatically validate and enforces security policies.
Accel led the Series E round. New investors Silver Lake Waterman, Alta Park Capital, and Owl Rock also contributed to the round as did existing investors Bessemer Venture Partners, Lightspeed Venture Partners, Alkeon, Stripes, ICONIQ, and DTCP.
Cybersecurity is having an increasingly important role in security for IoT. Comptia reported that “IoT and [operational technology] devices can also provide a rich breeding ground for attackers who want to conduct [distributed denial of service] attacks, such as through botnets.”
Helium Systems bags $200m in internet of things network deal
The deal highlights how the IoT industry overlaps other sectors, in this case the cryptocurrency industry.
Helium Systems has created a decentralised network of over half a million hotspots that provides bandwidth for, and collects data from, nearby IoT devices. Hotspot owners receive Helium tokens for their efforts. The more a hotspot is used, the more tokens an owner gets.
The funding round came as analysts and market watchers began to fear the coming of the next cryptocurrency winter.
SiFive raises $175m
SiFive is an US-based fabless semiconductor company that provides RISC-V processor IPs and silicon solutions. The semiconductor company raised $175m in a VC deal at a $2.5bn valuation in March. Coatue Management led the Series F funding round.
“The market has spoken and made it abundantly clear that RISC-V computing will be competing for the heart of all future computing platforms,” said Patrick Little, CEO and chairman of SiFive, in a statement.
“As the founder and market leader of RISC-V computing it’s our role to lead this ecosystem forward and offer customers advanced computing alternative to Arm and others.”
All IoT applications need semiconductors, because it “cannot work without sensors and integrated circuits,” according to the International Roadmap for Devices and Systems (IRDS) website.
“IoT devices will increase demand for sensors, connectivity, memory, microcontrollers, and integrated circuits,” IRDS said.
Shenzhen Ou Ruibo Electronics secures $157m
Shenzhen Ou Ruibo Electronics (Orvibo) is a Chinese company centering on IoT technologies. In January, the company secured $175m in a Series E funding deal. Tencent, Huaxing Growth Capital, Suofeiya, Fusen Noble-House and the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission of Pingxiang City backed the deal, according to GlobalData.
The company also focuses on developing household hardware and providing smart home appliances.
Eigencomm bags $156.8m in IoT chips deal
The China-based IoT chip startup raised $156.8m in January, according to GlobalData. Eigencomm develops and sells cellular internet of things (IoT) chips. SoftBank Vision Fund 2 led the Series C funding round.
“[Eigencomm]focuses on the research and development and sales of cellular mobile communication chips and their software, and is committed to making the world’s best cellular Internet of Things chips,” Eigencomm said on its website.
Envision Digital secures $152.6m
Chinese IoT company, Envision Digital International secured $152.7m in June. Sequoia China led the raise.
Envision Digital provides internet technology software and artificial intelligence. The company hopes to use this to find solutions to the sustainability challenge. Its so-called AIoT, which stands for “artificial internet of things,” strives towards helping governments and companies progress to a zero net future.
“Climate change and the transition to carbon neutrality is one of the greatest challenges humankind has faced,” Neil Shen, founding and managing partner of Sequoia China Envision Digital, said in a statement.
“Envision Digital is a visionary innovator in this field and has helped to reduce carbon emissions across multiple industries, including retail, finance, transportation and manufacturing. This investment continues to put Sequoia China at the forefront of supporting the race to net zero carbon emissions globally.”
Salt Security raises $140m
US-based cybersecurity startup Salt Security raised $140m in February. CapitalG, Alphabet’s independent growth fund, led the raise.
Salt Security provides a application programming interface (AP1) protection platform. It is a type of software that allows applications to respond to each other. The software also protects web, mobile and SaaS applications from any API attacks.
“Our investment in Salt Security comes at a time of critical importance for the wider business community,” James Luo, partner at CapitalG and Salt Security board member, said in a statement.
“APIs are essential to enabling business innovation, but security risks are multiplying at an unprecedented scope and scale. Salt took an innovative, best-in-class approach to building its API security platform leveraging cloud-scale big data, allowing it to effectively detect and stop attacks in the wild while not compromising on strong shift left capabilities.”
KINEXON secures $130m in IoT sensors deal
In April, KINEXON secured $130m in a Series A funding deal, according to GlobalData. Funding for the Germany-based IoT sensing and software solutions company was led by Thomas H. Lee Partners.
The company provides sensor networks and edge computing solutions to support manufacturing, logistics, media and sport companies connect with other people, processes and objects.
LeddarTech finishes bags $116m
Canadian detection and ranging systems company LeddarTech raised $116m in February. LeddarTech is a developer of technology that, among other things, enables connected vehicles to sense their surroundings. The Series D funding round was led by FS Investors.
In addition to the VC deal, the company also raised a $24m debt facility, BetaKit reported.