In just more than a month from now, I'll be taking the stage at our two-day Splash Oakland event May 6-7 to discuss the future of the Internet of Things with CEOs and investors betting on this segment. It's a nascent market that could be worth upwards of $30 trillion in 15 years.
So what's the Internet of Things? It is, essentially, a network of devices that are connected via sensors to maximize the potential of each object. For example, you can have an alarm clock that is connected to your commuter train, which will ring early if there is a delay. Or you can buy a fork that will tell you how long it took to eat your meal and how many bites you took, to help you lose weight. Or you can buy a car that can drive itself.
Pretty much anything you can think of can become connected, and can be made smarter, through being a part of the Internet of Things!
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How big is this space?
In a word: BIG.
This is a category that General Electric wrote could be worth $10 to 15 trillion by 2030. It is one that a survey from Zebra Technologies in October found was already in place in 15% of organizations around the world, and one that 53% of those organizations surveyed planned to implement within the next year.
It is also a space that has attracted the attention of venture capital firms. According to a report released by CB Insights in March, there was a total of $1.1 billion invested across 153 deals.
Even more impressive than that: both the amount of funding, and the number of deals, grew in each successive quarter of 2013. The number of deals hit an eight-quarter high in the fourth quarter.
Some of the companies that raised money last year include:
Zonoff, a provider of a software platform to its channel partners, who deliver “Connected Home” devices and services to consumers, which raised $3.8 million from Valhalla Partners and Grotech Ventures in May.
In June, Netatmo, which makes smart air quality sensors and personal weather stations, raised €4.5 million ($5.8 million) from Iris Capital, FSN PME and Pascal Cagni.
This past November two IoT companies raised money: SmartThings, an open platform for the Internet of Things, raised $12.5 million in a Series A round of funding from Greylock Partners and Highland Capital Partners; while Arrayent, a provider of virtualization technology for the Internet of Things, raised $11.9 million in a Series B funding found led by DCM Ventures, with participation from Intel Capital.
That same month, August, the home automation company behind the August Smart Lock, raised $8 million in Series A funding led by Maveron, with participation from Cowboy Ventures, Industry Ventures, Rho Ventures, and SoftTech VC.
The Orange Chef, the company behind the Prep Pad, which is a “smart scale” of sorts that calculates the complete nutritional value of a food item you put on its surface, raised $1.2 million in a seed round in December. The round was led by Google Ventures and SparkLabs Global Ventures, with help from Bertelsmann Digital Media Investments, Kima Ventures, The Social+Capital Partnership, Graph Ventures, and several angel investors.
In January of this year, View, the creator of smart windows and dynamic glass, raised $100 million, giving the company more than $300 million in total funding.
But the most important investment in the space was made by Google, which spent $3.2 billion to buy smart thermostat company Nest in January. It was the most the company has ever spent on an acquisition, outside of the $12.5 billion it spent on Motorola in 2011.
The biggest VC investors in this space are Intel Capital, True Ventures, Qualcomm Ventures, Cisco Investments and Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield & Byers.
Meet our panel!
On May 7, I will be joined by four distinguished people with a background in the Internet of Things Space.
- Rob Coneybeer, Managing Director at Shasta Ventures. He led the firm's funding round in Nest.
- Shane Dyer, the founder and CEO of Arrayent. The company offers an IoT platform that is hosted in the Cloud, which enables consumer brands to connect their products and systems to the Internet. Some of its partners include Whirlpool, Pentair and First Alert.
- Greg Winner, CEO of GainSpan, a company that designs wireless connectivity products for the Internet of Things. It is mostly known for its low-power Wi-Fi, which uses so little power that products can run for years.
- Gilad Meiri, founder and CEO of Neura, a network for the Internet of Things that is designed to make them “intelligent” rather than “programmable”by recognizing habits, and behavior patterns.
Some of the topics we will discuss include:
1) How long before the Internet of Things really penetrates the market? When it does, how big could it be?
2) What does Google's acquistion of Nest mean for the space? What other companies will make similar purchases?
3) How fast is the technology advancing? What advancements have been made over the past year or two?
4) Will the government eventually regulating this market? How should people feel about security when it comes to the data that is being collected?
5) What are the most innovative things that you have seen come out of this space so far?
We hope to see you at the event next month!
(Image source: siliconangle.com)