As you may now by now, I will be taking the stage next month at our inaugural 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.
If you haven't heard of the Internet of Things, it’s a very exciting, and extremely promising space, that is about to hit it big time. It is, essentially, a network of devices that are connected via sensors to maximize the potential of each object. The space has two sides: those that manufacturer the devices themselves, and the companies that provide the platform that will actually facilitate the connecting of those devices.
Jasper is in the second part of that equation. It is a cloud-based platform for the Internet of Things, and it has now raised $50 million in new funding, the company announced on Wednesday. The round was led by Temasek.
With this latest funding round, the company has now raised a total of $205 million. Other investors include AllianceBernstein, Sequoia Capital and Benchmark Capital.
Founded in 2004, Jasper was one of the first companies to offer a platform for the Internet of Things. It enables businesses to basically launch, manage and monetize their Internet of Things deployment.
Companies in almost any verticals, including automotive, healthcare, the airline industry and agricultural manufacturing, can now run a connect device business, as Jasper provides them services that include mobile service management, real-time engagement, support diagnostics, billing and business automation.
"Having spent a a decade in this business we’ve really learned that the Internet of Things is not about things, it's about service," Macario Namie, VP of Corporate & Product Marketing at Jasper, told me in an interview. "Enterprises are moving from being product companies to being service companies."
For example, General Electric, which has been making jet engines for decades, has now begun embedding sensors that monitor performance during flight. That means that as soon as the plane lands, the data is sent to a maintenance center so a technician can see what needs to be worked on or if a part to be replaced. As soon as the plane gets to the gate, there will be a mechanic there to fix the issue.
This real-time preventive maintenance helps to reduce the loss of more than $8 billion in operational costs that result from flight delays and cancellations each year.
"Being a service company is radically different than being a product company," said Namie. "They have to understand why something didn’t connect. Companies now have the responsibility to provide the service, and Jasper provide the technology that allows them to do it."
Jasper also announced on Wednesday that it surpassed 1,000 enterprises, and has now partnered with 19 mobile operator groups to power their devices. Some of the companies that currently work with Jasper include Alarm.com, Air Liquide, Audi, Boston Scientific, Coca-Cola, Ford, Garmin, General Electric, General Motors, Heinekin, John Deere, Honeywell, Nissan and Securitas.
The company says that it will use the new capital will to accelerate its growth. That means hiring and international expansion.
Jasper currently employs roughly 300 people, and it plans to have that number jump to 450. The majority of the hires will be in engineering, with the rest going toward sales and operations support.
As for its geographic expansion, Namie pointed toward Asia, and specifically China and India, as two countries where the company wants to increase its presence.
The Internet of Things space
The Internet of Things 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.
When I asked Namie about the potential for how big the space could be he said that it is "like asking in 1994 about how big the Internet would be."
"It is going to so pervasive, that it will not be a business it will simply be," he said. "It is going to affect every single business, every one of which will become an Internet of Things business."
Once a car manufacturer like GE embeds connectivity, it "basically become part of something much greater by gaining access to an incredible service fabric."
"The Internet is all about connecting people and it opened up a wealth of industries in the digital world," he said. The Internet of Things will have same dramatic effect on the physical world."
Not surprisingly the Internet of Things 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 in 2013.
Some recent investments include: Zonoff, which raised $3.8 million from Valhalla Partners and Grotech Ventures in May, and Netatmo, which raised €4.5 million ($5.8 million) from Iris Capital, FSN PME and Pascal Cagni in June.
This past November two IoT companies raised money: SmartThings, which raised $12.5 million from Greylock Partners and Highland Capital Partners; and 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.
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. Most recently it was Neura that raised $2 million in a round led by Greenhouse Capital Partners. (Note: Neura CEO Gilad Meiri will be one of our guests for our IoT panel next month)
But Google, which spent $3.2 billion to buy smart thermostat company Nest in January, made the most important investment in the space. It was the most the company has ever spent on an acquisition, outside of the $12.5 billion it spent on Motorola in 2011.
(Image source: Jasper.com)