Executive Briefings

Bosch, Inmarsat Back Startup That Links Canals to the Internet

Actility, the European startup battling with rival Sigfox to connect things from fuel tanks to Amsterdam's canals to the internet, has raised $75m from investors in a bid to win business in the industrial sector.

Private-equity firm Creadev SAS, industrial company Robert Bosch GmbH and satellite operator Inmarsat Plc are among new investors, Actility said. They join existing financial backers including Ginko Ventures - the European investment fund of Foxconn Technology Co. - as well as investments by operators of wireless networks like Koninklijke KPN NV, Orange SA and Swisscom AG. Actility had previously raised $25m in 2015.

The so-called internet of things has attracted interest from a variety of backers, as companies attempt to predict the tools and applications that would be better served by being linked to the internet.

Actility sells services like monitoring how much fuel Belgians have in their heating tanks at home, or alerting the city of Amsterdam when the water is too high in its canals. It’s seeking to tailor to industrials by connecting objects to a wireless network to help automate anything from supply chain to lights and heating in a building or factory.

Unlike Actility, Sigfox is deploying its own infrastructure with technology that stems from submarine communications during World War I, which the company says costs less to deploy than traditional phone networks.

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Private-equity firm Creadev SAS, industrial company Robert Bosch GmbH and satellite operator Inmarsat Plc are among new investors, Actility said. They join existing financial backers including Ginko Ventures - the European investment fund of Foxconn Technology Co. - as well as investments by operators of wireless networks like Koninklijke KPN NV, Orange SA and Swisscom AG. Actility had previously raised $25m in 2015.

The so-called internet of things has attracted interest from a variety of backers, as companies attempt to predict the tools and applications that would be better served by being linked to the internet.

Actility sells services like monitoring how much fuel Belgians have in their heating tanks at home, or alerting the city of Amsterdam when the water is too high in its canals. It’s seeking to tailor to industrials by connecting objects to a wireless network to help automate anything from supply chain to lights and heating in a building or factory.

Unlike Actility, Sigfox is deploying its own infrastructure with technology that stems from submarine communications during World War I, which the company says costs less to deploy than traditional phone networks.

Read Full Article