Trend Micro launches $100M VC fund for IoT startups

Japanese Cybersecurity firm Trend Micro today announced the launch of a $ 100M VC fund to invest in a portfolio of IoT and emerging tech startups.

Trend Micro Products

With 29-year history of operating history and a market cap of $ 7.5B, Trend Micro reported 72 quarters of uninterrupted profitability. “We believe the next wave has arrived with IoT; our fund will help us harness this opportunity,” said Eva Chen, founder and chief executive officer for Trend Micro.

Before the announcement of this venture fund, the company relied on a series of acquisitions from 2008 to 2015 that ended in a high-profile $ 300M acquisition of TippingPoint Technologies, a provider of network-based intrusion prevention systems and appliances. Other acquisitions included Boradweb, Affirm Trust, Mobile Armor, Humyo, Third Brigade, and Identum Limited.

Apart from the financial backing, Trend Micro will also provide the incubated companies access to global threat intelligence, strategic alliances, and access its rich-ecosystem of 28,000+ channel partners.

Companies whose core competency is not IoT find it a plausible route to launch VC funds to dip toes in the IoT market. Symantec, another leading cybersecurity company announced in March this year that its venture capital arm would invest in artificial intelligence, analytics and machine learning startups in cybersecurity niche. On the contrary, Trend Micro’s VC fund will only invest in non-cybersecurity startups to avoid corporate conflict.

Other organizations have also moved in to invest in IoT cybersecurity startups. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) invested $ 1M in five IoT security startups in March 2017. Bayshore Networks, an industrial IoT-security startup closed a $ 11M Series A round in April this year.

Postscapes: Tracking the Internet of Things

Itron’s $100M Comverge acquisition aims to expand Smart Grid offerings

Itron, an American technology company that sells innovative IoT sensor technologies and edge computing analytics from the Itron Riva platform, signed a definitive agreement to acquire Comverge in a cash transaction valued at approximately $ 100 million. Itron sells gas, water, electricity and smart cities solutions.

Comverge provides integrated demand management solutions for electric utilities. It sells hardware, software, and services.

Comverge’s acquisition will enable Itron to deploy demand management solutions to the edge of the network. This will be achieved using OpenWay Riva’s edge intelligence and processing capabilities. The buyout also makes sense as Comverge solutions (includes hardware and software) are already deployed in nearly 3 million energy management devices. Add to it the $ 60M revenues Comverge generated in 2016.

The journey for Comverge was not linear. It pivoted from a hardware-oriented demand response company to a software and services company focused which decreased its customer churn and increased revenue per customer. The rise in demand for Comverge-type solutions is due to the need for near-real-time data required by utility companies. It helps run predictive and prescriptive analytics on top of their data.

Itron will host a webcast on May 8, 2017, at 12:00 p.m. EDT to discuss Comverge’s planned acquisition.

Postscapes: Tracking the Internet of Things