Qualcomm Ventures said Wednesday it’s the co-lead investor in a $40 million funding round for Particle, a Bay Area startup that’s developed an Internet of Things platform to make it easier to bring wireless connectivity to the agriculture, energy, smart cities, remote monitoring and research industries.
The investment targets a key growth avenue for San Diego-based Qualcomm, which aims to push wireless technology into new industries beyond smartphones. The more flexible architecture in new 5G networks is expected to pave the way for connecting millions of sensors, cameras and other devices, and Qualcomm is a large provider of wireless connectivity chips and technologies.
Qualcomm Venture was joined by Energy Impact Partners as the lead investor in this third round of funding for Particle. Other investors participating in the round include Root Ventures, Bonfire Ventures, Industry Ventures, Spark Capital, Shea Ventures, SOSV and Counterpart Ventures.
Founded in 2012, Particle has developed a suite of hardware and software to connected unconnected industries. The platform includes cellular, Wi-Fi and mesh network chips and development kits for rapid deployment, as well as on-device operating systems and developer software tools to manage devices.
“Creating a bridge from the physical to the digital world is far more complex than most people realize, which is why nearly 75 percent of Internet of Things initiatives fail,” said Carlos Kokron, managing director of the Americas at Qualcomm Ventures. “From the device itself to the network, cloud connectivity and software functionality, there’s a lot of moving parts and a lot of room for error. Particle’s full-stack platform accounts for all of these vital elements in a highly secure environment for the Internet of Things.”
Particle will use the money to speed up development of technology targeting specific traditional industries. This latest round brings the total raised by Particle to $82 million.
“Demand from consumer electronics companies continues to grow, but we’ve also seen a profound increase in Internet of Things interest from enterprise companies in long-established verticals like energy and city infrastructure, said Particle Chief Executive Zach Supalla.
According to Particle, revenue increased 150 percent year over year, with nearly 200,000 developers and 85 large companies using its platform. Customers range from e-bike and scooter sharing firms to energy companies monitoring generating equipment to fleet tracking and environmental sensor organizations.