Bengaluru that leads the charge in India when it comes to being a startup hub has earned a new recognition. Of the 971 Internet of Things (IoT) startups in India, 536 are registered in Bengaluru, according to the IoT Startup Directory 2017.
In 2014, there were 123 IoT startups in the country, the number grew by 60 percent to reach 470 startups in 2016. The recent data reveals a growth of over 100 percent as 971 startups are accounted for.
IoT has been garnering a lot of attention of late, with every industry vertical weighing and leveraging IoT. Read more…
ReFirm Labs, an IoT device startup raised $ 1.5M in funding from DataTribe, a business incubator that funds the startups coming out of the federal intelligence community. The startup will use the funding proceeds to hire new talent and implement sales strategy.
The startup provides a platform called Centrifuge that validates the firmware, a type of computer program that provides the low-level control for the device’s specific hardware. The Centrifuge platform automatically vets and validates the firmware images for vulnerabilities in 30 minutes or less without having to access the source. It shows the ‘high-risk executables’ in images.
Some of the key threats identified by ReFirm include:
• Hidden Crypto Keys
• Password Discovery
• Insecure Code
At the heart of its product is Centrifuge’s ability to automate the process of detecting security flaws in connected devices and mitigating them. With the new funding, the startup plans to commercialize and sell the product to private companies.
“”They saw commercial promise in what we were trying to do, and wanted to give us some money to make it happen,” said ReFirm’s CEO, Terry Dunlap.
The dream of charging insurance based on the mile has been a reality for a while. But now insurers can charge based on the weather when you drive, the terrain and the type of car you’re in. The goal is to eventually do this in real time for consumers, corporate fleets and companies like Lyft or Uber.
A year ago Allstate spun out a company that could provide the underlying data for this future. Arity began with customers in the Allstate family (Esurance, Allstate) and this month scored its first customer outside the fold. National General is using data from Arity to offer personalized insurance to customers in North Carolina.
Gary Hallgren, the CEO of Arity, says that the company’s wide access to driving data and the subsequent claims data from accidents gives its algorithms an edge over data from some of the other companies offering similar data. From there it can offer quotidian analysis, such as left turns made at a specific intersection tending to cost significantly more than left turns at another intersection.
It can also offer data about specific cars that could be valuable beyond the insurance world. Halogen believes the Arity data can tell auto manufacturers about how their vehicles are performing across a wide range of conditions. Volvo would love to know that its brakes are replaced at a higher rate in cars that are sold in Montana, for example. Jiffy Lube might want to know that too.
This raises the question of how consumers will view real-time pricing for insurance data. On one hand, it’s nice to think of not paying for car insurance when you’re not on the road, but many companies already take that into account by asking questions about your commute. And as pricing gets more accurate for individuals it feels less like the insurance of old, which was defined by pools of risk.
Now the pool of risk is one. In that situation, a good driver or an infrequent driver will likely pay significantly less than someone who has to drive often, in risky geographies or even in all kinds of weather. Likely this will place a burden on those who make less money to begin with because they tend to live further from their jobs, have less choice about driving into work during a freak weather event and also have less leeway about when they come into the office. It could also penalize those who have less reliable cars.
Outside of class concerns there are positives. Granular data, if it is truly correlated with accidents, might help us reduce them simply by helping consumers or automakers avoid problematic behaviors. It could ascribe a financial cost to poor decision-making that might only have a social cost.
That becomes really interesting as the automotive industry changes. For example, as the driver of an electric car, I don’t buy gas, which means I’m not paying taxes that go to fund roads. As more and more people drive such vehicles this decreases a potential source of revenue that pays for a resource those vehicles still use. Using data on miles driven and the repercussions on roadways could become a new way to assess taxes.
In another example, a decision to drive during an ice storm could cost someone a lot more. If they were to lose their job if they didn’t go out, they likely would eat the cost, while someone simply trying to run an errand might elect to stay home. At a time when fewer drivers will mean fewer accidents, this incentive is probably good.
Finally, and Arity is actually doing this, the data it has can be used to provide safety scores for company drivers or even your Uber ride. Today an Uber star rating is almost worthless from a safety point of view. People dock drivers for smelly cars or talking too much. Imagine knowing that in addition to your driver’s ride count, you could also see that they drove well. That also could help those drivers get the insurance they need.
As a business, Arity competes with other data collection efforts including those from other insurance providers. They also will compete with companies like Waze and HERE which offer mapping and real-time traffic data.
Brilliant Tech, a smart lighting and home automation company raised a $ 21M Series A round led by August Capital. Other investors that participated in the round include Miramar Ventures, The Box Group, and the Stanford-StartX Fund.
Brilliant’s flagship product is a smart home control that comes in sizes of 1-4 switches. It operates as a ‘control hub’ for smart home devices via its elegant interface. It neatly integrates with smart home products like Nest thermostat, Sonos, Philips Hue, Ring, SmartThings, Wink bulbs, and Honeywell allowing users to control all devices/services through a single touchscreen gadget. The device is a 720×1280 resolution, 5-inch touchscreen having motion and voice control functionality.
The primary use case of the product is to replace traditional light switches with Brilliant’s touch-based smart light switch/panel, however, the product extends beyond this use case. It also operates as a ‘control’ or ‘hub’ to manage other popular smart home devices.
Brilliant’s main competitors are Lutron and Belkin, though Brilliant Control can be used to manage several 3rd party smart home devices also. Another key factor that differentiates the product is that if a user buys more than one Brilliant panel, it can operate as a video/voice intercom also. To make it convenient for users to control multiple lights through a single interface, Brilliant has added a functionality called ‘scenes’. Each scene may be a combination of different light settings, such as date night, an away mode, or a custom setting.
Brilliant Tech appears to be a relevant addition to an ever growing number of home automation products. The Postscapes Connected Products Framework can be used by upstart smart home companies as well as IoT analysts trying to navigate the complex network of interactions between technical components, user actions, and product service models.
Automile, an IoT-telematics company providing real-time asset and vehicle tracking raised a $ 34M Series B round led by Insight Venture Partners. Returning investors SaaStr Fund, Point Nine Capital, Dawn Capital and Salesforce Ventures also participated in the round.
The startup announced it will use the funding proceeds to invest in sales, marketing, and product development. Automile’s total equity funding has reached $ 47M.
Automile’s solution consists of a vehicle GPS tracking device named ‘The Automile Box’ and a cloud-based monitoring service. The tracking device plugs into a vehicle’s diagnostic port (OBD-II) connected to the internet via 3G/GSM, and includes location tracking, and motion detection capabilities. The device has an integrated SIM card and data plan included.
The startup’s key customers include companies from the FMCG (fast moving consumer goods), field services, and fleet management industries. Automile boasts having Samsung, Nestle, Pingdom as its customers. These customer groups have ‘moving’ assets, whether in the form of vehicles, trucks or human resources that they need to track. Automile does a good job of providing simple, plug and play solution with even simpler pricing plans i.e. starter, pro, and enterprise starting at $ 5.9, $ 15.9, and $ 23.9 per vehicle per month.
“Automile’s relentless focus on self-service and customer satisfaction has led them to efficient growth in an underpenetrated market with many small and medium-sized businesses,” said Jeff Horing, managing director at Insight Venture Partners. “We are thrilled to welcome Automile to our portfolio.”