A few years ago it seemed like all anyone could talk about was the Internet of Things. I envisioned a world of smart, connected devices. Maybe I got ahead of myself a bit, because I expected it to come faster than it has. I still think that revolution will be coming, though, and thats there's still a ton of potential in the space.
Gartner, for example, is predicting that there will be 6.4 billion connected devices in use in this year, up 30 percent from 2015. Investors are also seeing a lot of potential, as funding to the space is also reaching new heights, hitting its second highest quarter yet in Q1 of this year.
The latest company in the IoT space to raise funding is Brava, an Internet of Things company focused on kitchen appliances. The company raised $12 million in a Series A round led by True Ventures, along with Chris Anderson, who curates and runs the TED conference and Rob Reid, founder of the Rhapsody music service along with Aileen Lee, founder and partner at Cowboy Ventures.
Brava doesn't say much about its technology yet. The company's website is pretty sparce, and it only contains this description: "We are an IoT and domestic automation company that integrates technology and design to enable joyful experiences in the home -- starting with the kitchen. We are actively hiring exceptional people who love food."
This is how Jon Callaghan, founder of True Ventures, described it in a blog post he wrote about the investment: "The Brava team will be rethinking many of the machines we use on a daily basis that have yet to be revolutionized, starting with products for the kitchen. The goal is to improve our lives, not just connect something."
So it sounds like Brava has a big vision, though it isn't saying what that is yet.
Callaghan compared the company to Ring, the makers of a video doorbell, which he said "has changed the way we think about neighborhood security." Brava, he said, will do the same thing for connected home appliances.
Founded in 2015, Brava was started by John Pleasants, Dan Yue and Thomas Cheng.
Pleasants served as EVP of media solutions for Samsung, co-president of Disney Interactive Media Group, COO for Electronic Arts and CEO of Ticketmaster. Yue is the co-founder of meal kit delivery service Green Chef, while Cheng was the technical co-founder of smart parking platform Streetline.
Yue and Pleasants had founded Playdom together, where Pleasants was CEO and Yue was chief procurement officer. The company was bought by Disney for $563.2 million in 2010.
Brava will use the new funding to expand its team, hiring in software and hardware engineering, product, marketing and community development.
While Brava is currently focused on devices in the kitchen, Callaghan already has idea for how to take its technology and expand it to other areas.
"We’re looking forward to seeing how this team uses technology to remove stress from daily activities so that people can spend their lives doing less chores and enjoying life more," he said.
The Internet of Things space
Funding to the Internet of Things fell in Q2 to $656 million in 62 deals, according to CB Insights. It had reached $837 million in 75 deals, the second largest amount of funding ever in the space, behind only the $954 million in Q2 of 2015.
At the current run rate, IoT will see a roughly 30% fall in deal activity and a 7% fall in funding year-over-year.
Some of the biggest deals in the Internet of Things space in the second quarter included Ayla Networks, which raised $39 million, and smart thermostat Tado, which raised $23 million.
Founded in 2006, True Ventures invests in early-stage technology startups, and has invested in funded more than 220 companies, including 3D Robotics, Blue Bottle Coffee, Namely, About.me, Brightroll, Madison Reed, Stitch Labs, MoviePass, Kiip, MakerBot, Gigaom, PayNearMe, Goodreads and Meebo. It's most successful investment so far has been in Fitbit, which went public last year.
The firm just last month raised a $310 million for its fifth fund, called True Ventures V.
VatorNews reached out to Brava and to True Ventures for further comment. We'll update this story if we learn more.
(Image source: bravahome.com)