A recent BI Intelligence report claimed that the Internet of Things (IoT) is on its way to becoming the largest device market in the world.
Quite naturally, such exponential growth of the IoT market has prompted a number of high-profile corporate investors and smart money VCs to bet highly on this comparatively still nascent industry.
A CB Insight report stated that the funding of IoT startups has more than doubled over the last five years. Amongst the most active IoT startup investors since 2010 were Intel Capital at number one, followed by Qualcomm Ventures at the second spot.
Interestingly, the venture arms of both the tech giants have been particularly focused on sensor companies and wearable startups. Industry observers are of the view that because their core business model is heavily reliant on the design and manufacture of ever-smaller chips that power, both Intel and Qualcomm are more inclined to see IoT startups as strategic assets.
In 2015, Intel Capital led a particularly successful round to BodyLabs, a startup that deals in 3D body-scanning sensors. Apart from that, the company invested in Sano Intelligence, another fast-growing developer of biometric sensors.
Other IoT infrastructure startups that bagged rather lucrative investments from Intel Capital include Bocom Intelligent Network Technologies, SigFox, and Stratoscale.
Similarly, Qualcomm Ventures have also been showing great interest in emerging brands such as drone manufacturer 3D Robotics and Whistle Labs, a dog wearable manufacturer. In addition, the company also have invested in sensor networks made by Placemeter, Panoramic Power and Streetline.
Foundry Group and KPCB made it to the third rank in the list of top IoT investors. While Foundry Group seemed particularly focused on hardware manufacturers such as Fitbit, MakerBot and LittleBits, KPCB has been investing across a diverse range of IoT niches including auto, home automation, as well as wearables.
By Brent Anderson