Actility, the Low Power Wide Area Networks (LPWAN) specialist, has raised $75 million in its Series D funding round, with new investors including German industrial company Bosch.
The investment will help the company to expand its focus on industrial IoT solutions in the areas of logistics and supply chain, smart buildings, and energy and utilities.
In the first closing, Bosch is joined by investment company Creadev and British telecoms business Inmarsat as new investors, alongside existing investors including electronics company Foxconn, corporate fund Orange Digital Ventures, and telecoms companies Swisscom and KPN.
Actility provides IoT solutions based on LoRaWAN, and its CEO, Mike Mulica, says that the fundraising will enable the company to grow its IoT technology and ecosystem platform more swiftly, and roll out its global location and tracking service more quickly too.
“It will also allow us to accelerate our strategy for the US, and build strength in China. And last but by no means least, it will enable us to look at strategic acquisitions to broaden our technology portfolio and cement our leadership in LPWA,” he said.
A leader in LoRaWAN
According to Cyril Vancura, investment principal at Bosch, the reason the company invested in Actility is because it is the clear leader in the LoRaWAN ecosystem for IoT applications and has shown impressive growth in the past.
Bosch managing partner Ingo Ramesohl added: “IoT is a strategically important field to Bosch. Our company already has a wide offering in fields such as connected manufacturing, mobility, connected energy, smart building, and connected buildings. As such, we think that there will be substantial collaboration opportunities between Actility and Bosch in the future.”
Clive Longbottom, analyst at Quocirca, explained that for a company like Bosch, it doesn’t make sense for it to reinvent the wheel in a market where other companies are specialists – and this is why it is investing in Actility rather than acquiring a LoRaWAN company or building up the capabilities in-house.
In pursuit of longevity
By investing in the company, Bosch can ensure that Actility has more longevity too, said Longbottom.
“It gives more power over the direction of the company; a greater sense that the future of the company is secure and enables a deeper partnership to be built,” he said.
“Any need to replace the vendor with another further down the line could be highly damaging to Bosch’s – or any other IoT vendor’s – own brand,” he added.
Longbottom also suggested that the investment Actility had received showed a degree of maturity, as it wasn’t just from venture capitalists and angel investors.
“Bosch or one of the other companies could have opted for a direct acquisition of an early-stage company – it would have been cheap and given full control over the direction of the company,” he said.
“However, by not just acquiring the company, Bosch and the other vendors still enable Actility to bring in money from elsewhere, both through investment and sales. As any WAN solution needs to be as standardized as possible, this also makes sense as it’s better to piggyback off the back of a successful, agnostic vendor than to try and make an acquired company a success purely for Bosch or any other vendor itself,” he said.