Geolocation tracking startup Hoopo raises $1.5M seed capital

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).

Hoopo logo

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.


Postscapes: Tracking the Internet of Things

Fish-farm monitoring startup Aquabyte raises $3.5M Seed capital

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.

Aquabyte is developing a smart camera system and web dashboard.

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.

‘The development of computer vision over the past couple years along with the advent of deep learning has opened up dramatic opportunities to build new vision-related products that can solve very practical, real-world problems,’
said Bryton Shang, founder, and CEO of Aquabyte.

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.


Postscapes: Tracking the Internet of Things

Robert Bosch Venture Capital makes first investment in distributed ledger technology

Robert Bosch Venture Capital makes first investment in distributed ledger technology

Robert Bosch Venture Capital makes first investment in distributed ledger technology

Purchase of IOTA tokens to support creation of new business models for the Internet of Things.

Robert Bosch Venture Capital GmbH (RBVC), the corporate venture capital company of the Bosch Group, has purchased a significant amount of IOTA tokens, one of the largest cryptocurrencies in the world.

In doing so it hopes to intensify the collaboration with the IOTA Foundation, an open-source non-profit foundation from Germany.
RBVC also intends to elevate the technology to maturity by bringing it closer to Bosch’s global ecosystem and key partners.

Distributed ledger technology will play an important role in the industry of tomorrow,” said Dr. Ingo Ramesohl, Managing Director at RBVC.

“Bosch is one of the pioneers actively driving the adoption of distributed ledger technology in the automotive and Internet of Things (IoT) industry. The investment in IOTA’s token, the first ever token investment of RBVC, will help us working closely with the IOTA Foundation to explore the industrialization of this exciting technology.”

RBVC’s investment broadens the potential for new business models for the IoT in any number of verticals and uniquely positions IOTA and Bosch to take on the challenges of IoT together. Dr. Hongquan Jiang, Partner at RBVC, will join the IOTA Foundation’s advisory board. The investment follows the successful launch of IOTA’s data marketplace, with more than 30 leading companies worldwide participating.

IOTA, which is the first distributed ledger technology to go beyond a Blockchain, enables machines to securely transact data and money with each other. This is the stepping stone to new innovative IoT based applications and business models such as mobility, energy or industry 4.0. The IOTA technology has already enabled more than 10 billion dollars to be transacted, and has been utilized for use cases including transparent value chains, secure over-the-air updates and feeless micropayment-based electric vehicle charging or parking.

Synergies between Bosch and IOTA Foundation expected

“We have been working with the IOTA team for more than one year. I’m very excited about IOTA’s innovative tangle technology, which could potentially become the standard underlying technology for trustless machine to machine communication, security and payment in the IoT space,” said Dr. Hongquan Jiang.
“There will be much synergy between Bosch and the IOTA Foundation, and I’m looking forward to seeing more industrial adoptions of this technology in the near future.”

“The purchase of IOTA tokens by RBVC is a strong vote of confidence for the technology and the ecosystem we have built over the years,” said Dominik Schiener, Co-Founder of IOTA.
“Distributed ledgers are the future when it comes to truly unleashing the IoT, and with IOTA we see the potential of becoming the backbone of this emerging Machine Economy. We will continue to intensify our collaboration with leading IoT companies and hope to have the first go-to-market solutions ready by the end of 2018.”

“Bosch and IOTA have been in contact since 2015 and are working together on multiple fronts, including the Trusted IoT Alliance (TIOTA) and other projects,” said David Sønstebø, Co-Founder of IOTA.
“The decision by RBVC to acquire a significant amount of iota tokens solidifies the idea of the Machine Economy and how significant leaders in this space share our vision.”

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IoT Business News

Australian smart buildings company Quantify raises $5M in capital

Quantify Technologies, a publicly traded IoT company that develops smart/intelligent building applications and solutions has raised $ 5M in new capital.

The company trades on the Australian stock exchange under the ticker QFY and raised the funds by issuing 83M new shares to new and existing investors at 6 cents a share. Quantify will use the funding proceeds for the testing of an integrated Amazon Alexa/Q Device product they are developing.

“These funds will also allow us to accelerate development of further enhancements and integrations of technologies such as Amazon Alexa to further redefine the IoT industry standard and to make our solution the platform of choice,” Mark Lapins, head of Quantify Technologies.

The Q Device by Quantify can be used to control multiple IoT-based in-home devices. The core solution can be deployed at the time of a building’s construction or retro-fitted later.

Rolling out IoT solutions across an enterprise is considered a tough ask, especially when organizations have heterogeneous system operating upon different standards. This is where Quantify makes a difference by eliminating the needs to install dedicated gateway devices or communications hubs. It offers a core control and reporting API for the purpose.


Postscapes: Tracking the Internet of Things

An inside view of start-up factory Dell Technologies Capital

An inside view of start-up factory Dell Technologies Capital

This week in New York, Dell Technologies announced $ 1 billion of investment in IoT R&D over the next three years, much of which will flow through Dell Technologies Capital. 

Some of that hefty funding will go into developing Dell’s own new products and services, but a substantial amount will go through Dell Technologies Capital, the company’s investment arm. Its leader, Scott Darling, suggests he has “the best job in the world”. 

Before the main event of Dell’s IQT Day on October 11th, journalists were given an inside look at Dell Capital, the wing of Dell technologies responsible for selecting and managing investments in start-ups around the world, while helping to shape the company’s IoT eco-system moving forwards.

Scott Darling took the time to introduce five of the start-ups currently backed by his multi-million dollar fund. These included FogHorn Systems and Zingbox.

Afterwards, Internet of Business sat down with Foghorn Systems CEO David King, Zingbox CTO May Wang, Jason Shepherd, Dell’s director of IoT strategy and partnerships, and Scott Darling.

Read more: Dell expands Internet of Things partner solutions program

Selection criteria?

Moving forward, Dell Capital will partner closely with the company’s new IoT division. This link will ensure that it’s got the industry insight required and that investments support Dell’s wider strategic agenda.

The aim of Dell Technologies Capital is to maintain a link to the external innovation ecosystem, accelerating the development and deployment of new IoT, artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies.

Darling pointed out three major aspects taken into account when backing start-ups. The first he refers to as “domain expertise”: limiting investments to companies that could become valuable members of Dell’s already substantial IoT ecosystem.

“When we diligence these things [potential investments], we have our internal partnerships and business units there to tell us crazy investors whether we’re smoking some illegal substance…” Shepherd joked.

“Most of the time, they’re not crazy,” he was quick to point out.

Darling continued, “We go outside, we have relationships with people who’ve been active in this space for a long long time. So we try and stay focused through that circle of people who have that knowledge.”

This idea of domain expertise links closely to the second element: focus. “The other thing we do is try to not get spread too thin. So we want to work with companies like Foghorn and Zingbox, where we can see ourselves partnering and working together to build a joint business.”

The third consideration we discussed is the importance of the individuals concerned, which highlighted how Dell Technologies Capital invests in teams as much as it does in technologies and profitability.

When asked how much of an investment decision is based on those leading the start-up in question, Darling responded: “A very significant amount.”

“The first part is integrity and trust. Life is short, if that one isn’t there, it’s going to be a painful journey. I like to tell people who don’t do investment for a living: It’s like getting married. You’re going to live with these companies. So if you’re dealing with people who don’t behave ethically, it’s like being married to someone you don’t trust. It’s not going to work,” he said.

“Professional competence and capability… that and market opportunity are the things we weigh most carefully.”

Read more: Dell Technologies unveils new IoT strategy in New York

Working with Dell Technologies Capital

Aside from the obvious, an investment from Dell Technologies Capital comes with several less quantifiable benefits. One of those is Dell’s ability to open doors to sales channels through its ecosystem of partners and customers.

“One of the biggest challenges for start-ups is that when you start building channels it’s horrifically expensive,” said Darling. “You can see it in the enterprise space at the moment… Some of the big start-ups that have broken through are approaching billion-dollar run rates and they’re not profitable because the cost of running a channel is so big.”

“If you’re going after industrial companies or large companies or banks, enterprise sales people that have those relationships can cost multiple hundreds of thousands of dollars per year. These are dollars that start-ups can’t spend on R&D. If you can partner with people who have that, why be inefficient and duplicate it over and over again?”

So one of the other things, which is a win for the companies we invest in and for us, is we partner with our business units [and grant access to these channels]. It’s good for the company, it’s good for us and it’s cost-effective.”

May Wang and David King, CTO and CEO of IoT startups Zingbox and Foghorn Systems respectively, discussed some of the other bonuses an investment from Dell Technologies Capital brings.

IIoT start-up Foghorn Systems was originally backed by Darling when he was in charge of EMC’s investment arm. King suggests that the relationship hasn’t changed much since Dell’s $ 60 billion merger with EMC last year. “We were really struck by how simple the process was,” he said. It was a very quick decision. Often corporates are not that sudden in investing.”

The speed at which Dell Technologies Capital comes to a decision and delivers upon investment was also noted by May Wang. Zingbox is an IoT security start-up and the credibility of a working relationship with Dell has helped the company begin working with public sector organizations such as hospitals.

“We had other choices but we decided to go with Dell. It was amazingly fast and efficient,” she said. “At the same time we were also getting funding from a small VC firm and it took them a lot longer than Dell to get things done. We closed a $ 22 million round within three weeks and thought that was super-fast but they said it was the slowest they’ve ever done!”

Acting fast to support start-ups is part of Darling’s role. “I view my job as making sure these folks (he says pointing to Wang and King across the table) are in power. I make their lives easy when they interface with Dell’s other businesses and partners. We [the Dell Technologies Capital team] are the clutch between the transmission and the engine. It’s really important in big companies to have that given how hard it is to do start-ups. You’re working non-stop with the stress of knowing how important each deal is.”

Both May and King pointed to something else that you can’t put a price on: belief.

“Dell is a dream investor for a CEO. They say what they mean and they mean what they say. The first question is ‘How can I help?’. Dell pre-wires a lot of things to make sure you’re talking to the right people, they show up, follow up and help you with all of the parts of the process,” said King.

“From the start, we felt that this was a long-term partnership with somebody who understands us,” said Wang. “They are always there to support us and they believe in the same vision. We’re only three years old, we didn’t have flashy numbers to show but we believe that we’re going to change the world and they are sharing in that vision instead of questioning it. Even during the funding process they started introducing us to Vmware, RSA and all of these great partners. We have already integrated with Vmware’s Pulse product.”

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