ETF Partners, Inventure and Vito Ventures have invested €4.5 million in Wirepas, a Finnish software company that has solved a major Internet of Things connectivity challenge. In total, Wirepas has raised €10 million in 2016 including loan agreements and an earlier series A investment from Inventure and Vito Ventures.
The Internet of Things requires very low-cost, large-scale networks that allow millions of devices to be connected. De-centralised networks, in which each node relays data for the network, fit the bill perfectly, except that developing scalability and reliability have proven challenging – so far.
Wirepas Connectivity solves this problem. It is cost efficient, reliable, low-power and scalable up to millions of nodes. The de-centralized device network enables customers to leave all network formation, control and maintenance for the network itself. In addition, the network is self-healing, and automatically selects the best available radio channels and time slots locally. This gives quantifiable savings in installation, extensions, updates and maintenance.
Wirepas focuses on large-scale industrial IoT applications such as smart metering, sensoring, beaconing, logistics, asset tracking and lighting. Wirepas customers and partners include Aidon, Haltian, Nordic Semiconductor, Silicon Laboratories, Telit and u-blox. The largest deployment, which is ongoing, comprises 1.6 million smart electricity meters in Norway.
Patrick Sheehan, managing partner of ETF Partners, said: "Wirepas is a true game-changer for the Internet of Things. Its proven technology releases the huge potential of IoT, ensuring a low-cost, low-powered, scalable and robust platform for connecting the world around us. We are delighted to be supporting Teppo and his team through the next exciting phase of their company's development."
The market for the Internet of Things and device connectivity is developing rapidly. Both the number of different applications and the volume of connected devices are growing fast. One of the key enablers for this development is connectivity. Wirepas estimates, based on market studies, that in 2022 about 15 billion devices will be connected with non-cellular technologies and out of these about three billion represent the annual addressable market for Wirepas.
Teppo Hemiä, CEO of Wirepas, said: "This investment from ETF Partners is a further endorsement of Wirepas' growth trajectory and ambition as we expand internationally. Wirepas' solution cuts across countless applications and industries. ETF's experience in the Internet of Things combined with its international network and broad-based view of sustainability through innovation makes it a valuable partner in the next stage of Wirepas' growth."
Wirepas will use ETF Partners' growth capital investment to fund its further growth and product development.
Wirepas was founded in 2010 as a spinoff from Tampere University, where it was part of a research programme to connect an unlimited amount of environmental sensors wirelessly. Since 2014, the company has provided a hardware-independent radio communications protocol based on a de-centralized network topology, using a horizontal software licensing model. Wirepas shareholders include founders, Inventure Investment Fund from Finland, Vito Ventures from Germany, ETF Partners from the UK, management shareholders and private investors. Patrick Sheehan will join the Wirepas board.