The Week in Review: IoT

Startup funding; AT&T & IoT; Cisco cybersecurity.


Toronto-based Ecobee, which markets smart thermostats, raised $61 million in its Series C funding, bringing the total funding for the 11-year-old company to $146 million. Energy Impact Partners led the new round and was joined by Amazon’s Alexa Fund, Relay Ventures, and Thomvest. Ecobee counts Nest Labs, the Google subsidiary, as its chief rival.

ThoughtWire, also headquartered in Toronto, received C$20 million (about $15.5 million) in Series A equity and debt financing from a syndicate of investors. Yaletown Partners led the financing, which included BDC Capital, Round13 Capital, Epic Capital, and Comerica. ThoughtWire offers the Ambiant Industrial Internet of Things platform.

Snyk of London, England, raised $7 million in Series A funding led by Boldstart Ventures and Canaan Partners, bringing its total funding to $10 million. FundFire and HeavyBit also participated in the new round. Snyk provides cybersecurity measures for vulnerabilities in open-source software libraries.

Saturas of Israel received $4 million in Series A funding, bringing total funding to $5 million. Existing investors Gefen Capital, Trendlines, the Israel Farmers’ Union, and Shlomo Nechama participated in the round and were joined by Hubei Forbon Technology, Ramat Magshimim, and Miguel Torres Winery. Saturas offers a sensor-based decision support system for precision agriculture.

Germany’s Senic, which offers smart home interfaces and systems, took in $4 million in seed funding from Birchmere Ventures, Target Partners, and Gira. Founded in 2013, the startup will use the money to expand its workforce and its product line. Senic sells the Nuimo control system and the Covi designer lighting.

The QualcommBroadcom story had even more twists and turns this week, with the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States opening an investigation into Singapore-based Broadcom’s pursuit of Qualcomm, citing national security concerns, especially Qualcomm’s industry leadership in developing chips for 5G wireless networks. Qualcomm postponed its annual meeting of shareholders for 30 days at the government’s request. Since increasing its price for shares of NXP Semiconductors, Qualcomm reports receiving more than 36 million NXP shares, representing about 10.5% of the Dutch company’s outstanding common shares. Meanwhile, Qualcomm extended its tender offer for NXP shares for another week.

AT&T has introduced the Multi-Network Connect cloud platform, aiming at IoT applications in manufacturing, the public sector, and transportation. The product is in beta testing and will have a commercial release later this year. It allows businesses to monitor IoT endpoints on a worldwide basis, using AT&T’s cellular connectivity or another operator’s network.

Synopsys added the ChaCha20 and Poly1305 algorithms to its DesignWare Multipurpose Security Protocol Accelerator intellectual property, providing authentication and encryption functionality for IoT system-on-a-chip designs. The algorithms, now available, will allow designers to secure Internet communications using the Transport Layer Security protocol version 1.2 and 1.3.

ACL Airshop and CORE Transport Technologies are working together on Bluetooth-based automated tracking of unit load devices in the air cargo business. The cargo tracking system enables cargo carriers to provide electronic unit control receipts, using Bluetooth tags, according to the companies.

Cisco Systems sees securing IoT devices like keeping data centers secure. “There are some unique problems, and we are thinking about those, but we are also taking our existing technologies and applying them to these new use cases,” says Rowan Trollope, senior vice president and general manager of Cisco’s Internet of Things and Applications Division. He adds in this interview, “It’s a traditional computer security problem … so we are doing that same kind of thing for cars and for other kinds of devices, and some of that security lives in the network itself.”

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