With New Cash, Sensemetrics Aims to Take Industrial IoT Tech Global
Thinking about Internet-connected devices often brings to mind “smart” home appliances and consumer gadgets.
San Diego startup Sensemetrics is applying that technology to the industrial Internet-of-things sector (IIoT), selling access to its cloud platform to the world’s largest mining companies and government agencies monitoring major infrastructure, such as dams.
On Tuesday, Sensemetrics announced it has closed its first institutional funding round, which it is calling its Series A investment. The company isn’t disclosing how much was invested, but says the round brings the total it has raised since its 2014 founding to more than $10 million.
CEO Matt Meehan says Sensemetrics provides companies with a streamlined way to collect and analyze the information being measured via sensors and other connected devices in real time.
“In industrial IoT, almost all the tools are there to make it work, to communicate with devices and sensors in the field,” Meehan says. “The problem is there are a lot of decisions to make as you go from your cloud platform, as you go into your device management, as you go into your actual connectivity, including physical interfaces…what the workflows are going to look like…if you make certain decisions, it can make your life easier or harder.”
Meehan says the Sensemetrics platform streamlines that process for enterprises. He adds that it also can be up and running five to 10 times faster than alternative technologies.
“It autoconfigures and automatically understands the types of sensors that are within range that are communicating wirelessly, or detects what’s being plugged in and then immediately knows how it is going to talk to the platform, what is the standard setting in terms of frequency that we’re going to be getting the information from this, and then exports that data to our cloud platform,” Meehan says.
The financing round was led by X2 Equity, a Munich, Germany-based firm that also has offices in the U.S. and China, which invests in tech companies that are developing innovative ways to improve large-scale industrial manufacturing processes, according to its website. Earlier investors including San Diego’s Mooring Ventures and Three Curve Capital also participated, according to Sensemetrics.
Mooring Ventures co-founder Shayne Skaff, says the fund first decided to invest in Sensemetrics in 2017, after about a year of studying its business model.
(Skaff and Scott Herron co-founded MaintenanceNet in 2004; the company was acquired by Cisco Systems (NASDAQ: CSCO) in 2015. The two together launched Mooring Ventures.)
Skaff and Herron look for companies selling enterprise software that already generates recurring revenue but can also benefit from their operational experience, Skaff says. At first, Sensemetrics didn’t seem like a good fit. That’s because Sensemetrics also sells some hardware: a gateway device. But Sensemetrics is now starting to provide those devices with a subscription to its software. And going forward, Meehan says the company plans to primarily focus on further developing its software since there are competitors making similar devices.
“I really liked the space that they’re in because there isn’t a ton of players,” Skaff says. “Once we started to understand that they were just using those devices to collect data and their ultimate goal was to grow that licensing piece of that business and their recurring revenue stream, then we became super interested. … Now we’re at a position where we could see that software license business growing exponentially.”
Meehan says Sensemetrics’s 30-person team includes people with industry experience that have helped the San Diego-based company get introduced to big industry players. Its customers include mining group Rio Tinto, energy giant Chevron (NYSE: CVX), and Sempra (NASDAQ: SRE) subsidiary San Diego Gas & Electric, according to its website.
Proceeds from the financing will help beef up the company’s sales and support teams in San Diego and in Denver, CO, and to expand its presence, first in North America, and then Europe, the Middle East and Africa, and Asia. Sensemetrics said X2’s presence in those regions will help facilitate its expansion there.
X2’s Marc Sperschneider, its CEO and founder, is joining the Sensemetrics board of directors as part of the deal.
“Sensemetrics has quickly developed a leadership position in the NAFTA IIoT market,” Sameer Patel, managing director at X2 Equity North America, said in a prepared statement. “We see them strengthening their IIoT lead through access to the X2 platform and network and view them as a highly complementary addition to our test and measurement hardware portfolio.”