by Louis Columbus in Forbes on February 3, 2019
AI Start-up funding has almost doubled in the past year, climbing to $16.7B. Here are 25 hot start-up in AI you should keep your eye on.
- 26,792 startups are relying on IoT as one of their main technologies to launch new products and services and support platform-based business models according to Crunchbase.
- 78.4% of IoT startups Crunchbase tracks have had two funding rounds or less with seed, angel and early-stage rounds being the most common.
- IoT startup funding reached $16.7B in Q4, 2018, with last years’ funding levels 94% over 2017 according to Venture Scanner.
- By 2020, 50% of IoT spending will be driven by discrete manufacturing, transportation and logistics, and utilities according to the Boston Consulting Group.
The most successful IoT startups selling into enterprises excel at orchestrating analytics, Artificial Intelligence (AI), and real-time monitoring to deliver exceptional customer experiences. As a group, these top 25 IoT startups are showing early potential at enabling profitable new business models, revitalizing industries that have experienced single single-digit growth recently. Each of these startups is taking a unique approach to solving some of the enterprises’ most challenging problems, and in so doing creating valuable new patents that further fuel IoT adoption and growth.
The top 25 startups are concentrating on how to make IoT a growth catalyst for enterprises by designing in AI integration at the platform level. McKinsey found that 27% of AI early adopters are more likely to report using AI to grow their market than companies only experimenting with or partially adopting AI. 52% are more likely to report using it to increase their market share. These and many other survey results are from McKinsey Global Institute’s Artificial Intelligence: The Next Digital Frontier?
Top 25 IoT Startups To Watch In 2019
The following list of 25 IoT startups are based on an analysis of their ability to attract new customers, current and projected revenue growth, patents’ current value and potential, and position in their chosen markets. Presented below are top 25 IoT startups to watch this year:
- Armis Security – Armis takes a unique approach to provide visibility into IoT-enabled devices that are unmanaged across an IT network. The company’s solutions treat every IoT device as a threat surface, enabling enterprises to prohibit access to IoT devices and networks based on security guidelines. Another unique aspect of this company’s approach to deployment is the ability to use an enterprises’ existing infrastructure for rapid deployments. Founded in 2015 the company has active customers in finance, healthcare, manufacturing, and high technology industries. Armis Security has raised a total of $47M in funding over 3 Their latest funding was raised on Apr 9, 2018, from a Series B round of $30M from Bain Capital Ventures and Red Dot Capital Partners. Crunchbase reports Armis Security has $2.1M in revenue annually and competes with DigiCert, Skybox Security, and Aruba Networks most often in sales cycles.GEM – GEM specializes in providing IoT, analytics, and machine learning platforms and solutions for the manufacturing industry, with a specific focus on Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) and predictive maintenance. The company has been able to gain customers in energy, retail, and GEM’s value proposition is based on their ability to increase manufacturers’ OEE levels through greater real-time insights. The GEM Precare platform captures operational data and KPIs in real-time including availability, OEE, performance, quality, MTBF, MTBA, machine statuses, status reasons, and alarms. The following is an example of the GENM technology platform:
- Crate.io – Crate.io’s open source SQL database features integrated search for storing and analyzing machine data in real time. The company was founded in 2013 with the purpose of providing SQL developers with an open source SQL database to capture, analyze and manage their machine learning and AI-based data. CrateDB is an open source distributed database offering the scalability and performance of NoSQL with the power and ease of standard SQL. The CrateDB Cloud for Azure IoT is a turnkey data layer, offered as a hosted cloud service on Azure, enabling faster development of IoT platforms and data-driven smart factories. Most CrateDB customers use it for operational analytics workloads, performing fast time series, geospatial, text search, machine learning queries against streams of data and data at rest in Industrial IoT, enterprise cybersecurity & systems monitoring in all industries, smart city and building infrastructure, Vehicle fleet tracking & management and marketing analytics. The company has raised $17.9M in funding over 4 rounds.
- Dragos – Dragos specializes in industrial (ICS/IIoT) cybersecurity. Their cloud-based Dragos Platform collects, detects, and automates asset inventorying and visualization, threat detection through threat behavior analytics, and security operations and incident response workflows. Dragos also has a Threat Operations Center that provides customers access to dedicated ICS incident response and threat hunting services as well as industrial specific intelligence reporting on vulnerabilities, threats, and community events. Dragos has raised a total of $48.2M in funding over 3 Their latest funding was raised on Nov 14, 2018, from a $37M Series B round with Canaan Partners
- Drayson Technologies – Drayson Technologies provides an IoT platform startup that is combining wireless charging technology and machine learning software to create smart sensor networks that deliver greater energy and cost efficiencies to its customers. Drayson is known for its expertise in energy-efficient and cost-effective IoT data collection and analysis, which also contributes to their customers’ ability to reduce the cost of deploying, owning and running IoT networks.
- Element Analytics –Element Analytics is rapidly establishing itself as a startup to watch in the fields of chemicals & refining, manufacturing, metals & mining, pulp & paper, and upstream oil & gas. Their Element Platform helps industrial organizations easily and rapidly use industrial time-series data to improve production efficiency and product quality. Their platform prepares time-series data, enriches it with analytically relevant context, creating greater contextual insights. The Element Analytics platform also enables machine-learning modeling to surface reliability, productivity, and sustainability insights for operations. Element Analytics has raised a total of $22M in funding over 3 Their latest funding was raised on Jan 8, 2018, from a Series A round. Kleiner Perkins participated in the first two rounds, funding a total of $7M.
- FogHorn – FogHorn is a fascinating startup to watch because they excel at embedding real-time analytics and machine-learning support into size- and space- constrained commercial and industry IoT application areas. Realizing that industrial manufacturing and distribution sites often have unreliable Internet connections if they have any at all, Foghorn has designed a miniaturized, scalable complex-event processing (CEP) software engine that is capable of producing analytics in real-time. The FogHorn Lightning™ platform includes the CEP software engine, enabling high-performance edge computing, advanced analytics, Machine Learning, and AI to be implemented highly constrained environments of IIoT. The company has also created a new class of high-performance programming language called Vel ™ which transforms any gateway, programmable logic controller (PLC), industrial PC, or another edge device into an advanced edge computing system. FogHorn has raised a total of $47.5M in funding over 4 Their latest funding was raised on Oct 4, 2017, from a Series B round. The FogHorn Technology Platform is shown below:
- GEM – GEM specializes in providing IoT, analytics, and machine learning platforms and solutions for the manufacturing industry, with a specific focus on Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) and predictive maintenance. The company has been able to gain customers in energy, retail, and GEM’s value proposition is based on their ability to increase manufacturers’ OEE levels through greater real-time insights. The GEM Precare platform captures operational data and KPIs in real-time including availability, OEE, performance, quality, MTBF, MTBA, machine statuses, status reasons, and alarms. The following is an example of the GENM technology platform:
- IoTium – This is a fascinating company to track due to their patented technology that enables secure connections between Network as a Service (NaaS), legacy onsite systems and cloud-based applications. Customers include CBRE, Emerson, Intelligent Buildings, Obernel, Rexnord, and Sunbelt Controls. IoTium is well positioned to gain new customers in building and industrial automation, oil & gas, manufacturing, transportation, and smart city industries. IoTium has raised a total of $22M in funding over 2 rounds with investors GE Ventures, March Capital, and Juniper Networks. Their latest funding was raised on Sep 19, 2018, from a Series B round.
- InfluxData – InfluxData created InfluxDB, their Open Source Platform specifically designed to analyze metrics and events (time series data) for DevOps and IoT applications. Whether the data comes from humans, sensors, or machines, InfluxData enables developers to build monitoring, analytics, and IoT applications at scale, delivering measurable business value quickly. The company reports having 400 customers including Cisco, eBay, IBM, and InfluxData has raised a total of $59.9M in funding over 4 rounds. Their latest funding was raised on Feb 13, 2018, from a Series C round.
- Karamba Security – Karamba Security is focused on solving the security challenges of connected vehicles. The company offers Electronic Control Unit (ECU) endpoint security to protect any vehicle with an IoT connection or IP address. What makes this startup so interesting is how they are using patented technologies to reduce IoT-based attacks on vehicles by blocking them autonomously. Internet connectivity or extensive developer work is not needed to implement Karamba across a vehicle fleet. Each device can be reset to its factory settings, eliminating the threat of a vehicle being hacked. Karamba Security has raised a total of $27M in funding over 4 Their latest funding was raised on Apr 10, 2018, from a Series B round.
- MachineMetrics – What makes MachineMetrics an interesting company to watch is their innovative approach to using Artificial Intelligence (AI) to discover new insights into manufacturer’s data that improve product quality and performance. It’s one of the first startups to combine Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and AI and provide a scalable platform for discrete manufacturers and heavy equipment builders. They’ve also developed an expertise at edge connectivity in manufacturing environments that have enabled greater real-time visibility and more meaningful manufacturing analytics than has been possible in the past. They’re using AI to drive their prescriptive and predictive alerts. MachineMetrics has raised a total of $13.4M in funding over 3 Their latest funding was raised on Dec 11, 2018, from a Series A round. The following is a Workstation View from the MachineMetrics Production platform:
- MagicCube – MagicCube is a device independent IoT security platform that protects against on-device, cloud, and network attacks. The MagicCube solution secures digital transactions on any device, in transit, and in the cloud with the same level of security as device hardware solutions without the complexity and cost associated with hardware deployments. MagicCube, Inc. has raised a total of $10.7M in funding over 2 Their latest funding was raised on Aug 8, 2017, from a Series A round.
- Myriota – What makes Myriota a fascinating company to watch is their innovative advances in ultra-low-cost satellite Internet of Things (IoT) connectivity and the alliances they are creating, including on with SpaceX. Myriota’s nano-satellite was launched into space aboard the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket in December 2018. Myriota uses exactEarth’s Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite constellation for its connectivity solutions. Myriota is a global leader in low-cost satellite IoT connectivity, providing aggregated sensor reading, environmental sensing, and online tracking and condition monitoring of remote assets. The company has raised a total of $15M in funding over 1 round. This was a Series A round raised on Mar 26, 2018.
- Particle – Particle is an Internet of Things (IoT) device platform that enables organizations to develop and fine-tune connectivity across operations using scalable APIs and software development resources. Particle’s development platform is designed to provide organizations with the tools they need to prototype IoT solutions to scale quickly and securely. Over 150,000 product builders in more than 170 countries and half of the Fortune 500 have deployed connected IoT devices powered by Particle. Particle’s customers include NASA, SpaceX, consumer hot tub manufacturer Jacuzzi, and Venture-backed by Root Ventures, Spark Capital, Qualcomm Ventures, and Particle is based in San Francisco, CA and Shenzhen, China. Particle has raised a total of $35.8M in funding over 7 rounds. Their latest funding was raised on Jul 19, 2017, from a Series B round.
- Samsara – What makes Samsara noteworthy is their prioritizing how sensor data can increase the safety and efficiency of physical operations, contributing to productivity gains while reducing costs. Samsara is attracting customers from the transportation, logistics, construction, food production, energy, and manufacturing industries with their ability to improve the safety, efficiency, and quality of operations. Samsara builds sensor systems that combine wireless sensors with remote networking and cloud-based analytics. As of February 2019, the company has over 5,000 customers and has a run rate of 200,000 new devices being added every year. Samsara has raised a total of $230M in funding over 5 Their latest funding was raised on Dec 28, 2018, from a Series E round. An example of the company’s Fleet Summary is shown below:
- SCADAfence – SCADAfence provides cybersecurity solutions designed to ensure the operational continuity of industrial (ICS/SCADA) networks. The startup excels at integrating Industrial IoT, analytics, realtime monitoring and machine-to-machine connectivity to provide scalable cybersecurity solutions for production networks. As of February 2019 the company has customers in the pharmaceutical, chemical, food & beverage and automotive industries. SCADAFence offers a solution suite that includes continuous real-time monitoring of the industrial environment as well as lightweight tools designed to automate the process of security assessment. The suite provides visibility of day-to-day operations, detection of cyber-attacks and forensics tools designed to improve responsiveness. SCADAfence has raised a total of $10M in funding over 3 Their latest funding was raised on Nov 21, 2017, from a Series A round.
- SequoiaDB – SequoiaDB develops and provides commercial support for the open source database SequoiaDB, a document-oriented NewSQL database that supports JSON transaction processing and SQL query. Their database can either be a standalone product to interface with applications providing high performance and horizontally scalable data storage and processing functions or serve as the frontend of Hadoop and Spark for both real-time query and data analysis. It is designed to integrate with Spark, Hadoop/Cloudera. SequoiaDB has raised a total of $40M in funding over 3 Their latest funding was raised on Sep 19, 2018, from a Series C round.
- Sight Machine – This is a fascinating startup to watch, I’ve been tracking Sight Machine for several years. The company is succeeding at attracting Fortune 500-level manufacturers as clients by providing them with AI-driven insights into how they can improve operations. Sight Machine’s AI and analytics platform, purpose-built for discrete and process manufacturing, uses artificial intelligence, machine learning, and advanced analytics to help address critical challenges in quality and productivity throughout the enterprise. The platform is powered by the industry’s only Plant Digital Twin, which enables real-time visibility and actionable insights for every machine, line, and plant throughout an enterprise. Sight Machine is optimized to run on the major cloud platforms including AWS, Google Cloud Platform, and Microsoft Azure. The company has raised a total of $30.5M in funding over 5 Their latest funding was raised on Dec 23, 2017, from a Series B round. An example of a Sight Machine dashboard is shown below:
- Splice Machine –. Splice Machine provides an open-source dual-engine RDBMS for mixed operational and analytical workloads, powered by Apache Hadoop® and Apache Spark™. The Splice Machine RDBMS executes operational workloads on Apache HBase® and analytical workloads on Apache Spark. Splice Machine is known for its ease of development and use for IoT-based applications and is successfully offload operational and analytical workloads from Oracle, Teradata, and Netezza legacy systems. The company excels at ETL, operational reporting or real-time applications and use cases. Splice Machine has raised a total of $40M in funding over 4 Their latest funding was raised on Dec 20, 2017, from Salesforce Ventures.
- SWIM.AI – Swim provides edge-based software that executes real-time analytics and machine learning for enterprises, equipment manufacturers, smart-cities, and IoT and IIoT businesses. Its software locally processes and analyzes massive volumes of streaming data from devices/sensors/equipment where it is created, reducing network volumes, and generating real-time machine-learning business insights. Swim deploys its software at the edge to transform data into insights in real-time and delivers them to businesses, staff, operators, and customers. Swim has successfully been deployed and is in use in existing equipment and brownfield environments. In manufacturing customers’ operations Swim is improving real-time synchronization across multiple systems, reduce project implementation costs, optimizing efficiency using machine learning insights from full resolution edge data and making insights available via real-time APIs. Swim.ai has raised a total of $10M in funding over 2 rounds. Their latest funding was raised on Jul 17, 2018, from a Series B round. Swim’s model is shown below:
- Tulip – Tulip was started by a team of engineers out of the MIT Media Lab, and the company’s platform is based on over ten years of research in digital manufacturing. Their self-service technology fills the gap between rigid back-end manufacturing IT systems and the dynamic operations taking place on the shop floor. Tulip’s Manufacturing App Platform combines research in intelligent hardware sensors, computer vision, assistive user interfaces, and applied machine learning. Tulip was launched to bring these latest technological developments from the lab to the factory floor. Today, Tulip’s Manufacturing App Platform is deployed at dozens of global customers in six countries across multiple industries including Electronics, Aerospace & Defense, Medical Devices, Footwear, Pharmaceuticals, and Contract Manufacturing. Tulip Interfaces has raised a total of $13M in funding over 3
- Tuya Smart – Tuya Smart is an IoT solution provider for device manufacturers. Their platform enables fast, agile app development, allowing smart device manufacturers to bring their product to market quickly and at competitive prices. Tuya Smart is founded by Jerry Wang, a founding executive of AliYun, Alibaba’s cloud division, along with a group of veterans from Alibaba, Baidu and Haier Electronics. With extensive knowledge in cloud computing, software development, and hardware and supply chain management, Tuya Smart’s team is enabling manufacturers to produce next-generation smart, connected products. Tuya has raised a total of $200M in funding over 3 Their latest funding was raised on Jul 24, 2018, from a Series C round.
- Uptake – Uptake Technologies provides a predictive analytics and asset performance management (APM) platform gaining traction in key industrial IoT market segments today. The Uptake platform analyzes data from inside a company and from third party sources to predict and prevent failures, uncover hidden profits, and discover new opportunities to healthcare, insurance, locomotives, construction, manufacturing, and other industries. Uptake Technologies offers a platform for equipment monitoring, diagnostic troubleshooting, event, and condition prediction, and task management to improve uptime, streamline operations, and spot growth opportunities. Key customers include Caterpillar, Progress Rail, Berkshire Hathaway Energy, and the U.S. Army.
- VDOO– VDOO has developed a platform of automated solutions to help IoT makers put the right security in their devices before release and enable post-deployment security. The end-to-end platform takes the maker from security analysis to implementation guidance to certification and enables IoT makers to quickly add the right security to their devices with minimal resources. VDOO’s solution is built upon a comprehensive taxonomy of IoT devices and consists of five interrelated and integrated products including the Security Requirements Generator, Security Gap Analysis, Actionable Security Plan, Certification, and Post-Deployment Security Enablement. VDOO has raised a total of $13M in funding over 1 round. This was a Series A round raised on Jan 17, 2018.
- Xage Security – Xage provides decentralized security services for industrial manufacturing and distribution businesses including oil and gas, transportation, and utilities. The Xage architecture relies on blockchain to provide a distributed, scalable and highly reliable data store that prevents hackers from attacking and gaining access through any threat surface in an organization. Xage takes a unique approach to using blockchain to thwart hacking attempts at scale, by simultaneously protecting every active ledger in an organization. Xage Security has raised a total of $16M in funding over 2 Their latest funding was raised on Dec 28, 2018, from a Series A round.
- Louis Columbus is an enterprise software strategist with expertise in analytics, cloud computing, CPQ, Customer Relationship Management (CRM), e-commerce and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP).