Internet of Things today before our very eyes is becoming one of the most significant trends in the field of information technology. The idea to unite various household appliances and connect them to the network offers a wide scope of possibilities for creative endeavors and startups.

But is everything as good as it seems at first glance? Is it really possible to make money on the IoT by simply inventing a viable idea? Below, we will try to answer these questions by taking a closer look to the 5 most successful IoT startups as examples.

Enlighted

This startup began with a simple idea of the Newpath Ventures co-founder Dave Tushar. The essence of the idea was to create a “smart” lighting system for office premises which would analyze the employee behavior in real-time. The resulting data is used by the system to make independent decisions on the lighting timetables in different parts of the office. For corporate offices, the main benefit of such technology would be saving money (according to Office LED Lighting, lighting typically constitute up to 35% of the office electricity bills. The main feature of Dave Tushar’s initiative is that there is no need to build an entire network of nodes and a “command center” for the Enlighted system to work. Most of the calculations and decisions can be taken by each lighting node. 

Enlighted system includes a sophisticated software platform that allows controlling and managing all the building’s individual lighting nodes. Insiders hint that it was developed with the help of external  software development service vendor under a strict NDA.

As for the profitability and success of the startup, numbers say it all. The first round of the funding in 2010 brought the company over $14 million in venture capital. In 2013-2014, RockPort Capital Partners became the main investor, which supplied $40 million. Last round, run in 2016, secured an additional funding of $25 million by Tao Capital Partners. Currently, the Enlighted’s market-value is estimated at over $80 million.

Heapsylon/Sensoria Inc.

A very unusual combination of high technology and clothing. The founder of the startup, Davide Vigano, former Microsoft Executive, is intent on developing “smart” clothing for athletes. The first product released by Heapsylon was the Sensoria socks, equipped with pressure and temperature sensors. In addition to the usual smart fitness functions – measuring body temperature and heart rate, these socks, through a mobile device, allow athletes to oversee the feet load distribution during running and avoid injuries. Currently, Sensoria running monitoring system includes T-Shirts/Sports Bras with the optionally attachable heart rate monitor and Sensoria Fitness Socks with the optionally attachable sensory anklet.

Sensoria system includes the fitness monitor mobile app and SDK for the development of compatible apps and scenarios.

The company started in 2013 with the Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign that collected more than $115k  from 752 backers. Later the same year, the company secured two rounds of funding from business angels amounting to $560k  and changed its name to Sensoria Inc. In summer 2014, Sensoria received a $5 million investment from the Reply SpA company, which represents interests of industrial groups.

Humavox

One of successful startups, is founded by Israeli entrepreneur, marketing strategist and innovator Omri Lachman. Among other prosperous companies, he started are EXACTME! And YALO, for instance.

Founded in 2010 in Israel, Humavox entered the market in 2013 with the ETERNA power aggregation and feeding platform which operates through a radio frequency. The idea of Humavox is not only to recharge batteries of even the smallest existing wearables and IoT sensors, but also to ensure their constant uninterrupted wireless power supply.

By 2016, Humavox received $5 million of venture investments before merging with Aurum Inc., an Australian mining company. Upon completion of the merger, Humavox will receive the additional $16 million funding from Aurum and Omri Lachman will be appointed as the CEO of the resulting company.

PubNub

Another super successful startup, with a valuation of over $90 million. PubNub was founded by Todd Greene, a former director of Loyalize, a company that offered the white-label services for brands and content providers to engage massive audiences interactively during live events, Superbowl and Grammy’s, for instance. Before being acquired and integrated by Function(X) in December 2011, Localize was one of the key players at the SocialTV market. Another PubNub’s co-founder and CTO is Stephen Blum, formerly lead software developer at Microsoft and Loyalize’s lead system architect.

The main idea of this star team startup is the rapid deployment of a common local network infrastructure that allows users to connect IoT devices installed both in houses and at open areas, including uninhabited territory. To implement the idea, the company deployed a network of data centers that provide network coverage for IoT. According to the head of PubNub, up to 3 million messages are sent in their network between more than 100 million devices every month. Despite such a huge number of requests, the network successfully copes with the load, remaining not only scalable and reliable, but also secure (PubNub has developed a complex of unauthorized access and hacker attacks prevention facilities).

TempoIQ

This startup appeared in 2011 in Chicago, Illinois, under the leadership of Andrew Cronk, the former product development director at Indie Energy. The startup raised $4 million of funding in 3 rounds.

The idea behind the startup was quite simple but ingenious: to provide a cloud database for analyzing data from Internet of Things devices. The main achievement of this development is the provision of real-time processing of Big Data streams.

In 2014, the company changed its name to TempoIQ and revealed plans to greatly enhance the possibilities of the platform and shift focus from data storage to analyzing it and discovering the inherent trends and prospects. Despite the shift, TempoIQ stays developer-centric and puts a lot of attention to API development.

So what is the key to IoT startup success?

There is no doubt that a bright innovative idea is vital for every startup intending to be successful. Another key component is the ability to quickly and qualitatively implement your idea in life. As for software development, that is an important integral part of the most IoT projects, there are always two ways to achieve maximum efficiency:

  1. Try to quickly build a staff of software developers and technicians, which, however, brings significant financial expenses and delays;
  2. Entrust your project’s software engineering to qualified IoT software development company. For many prosperous startups, the latter solution proved to be obvious and most adequate.

Come up with the idea, choose the reliable experienced partner and your startup is bound to succeed.