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14 April, 2016 - 12:22 By Jamie Quested

Transatlantic play raises $21m Series C funding

A California-Cambridge IoT play that promises to revolutionise internet connectivity has raised $21 million in an initial Series C funding.

Electric Imp, aims to take the best implementations of hardware, firmware and cloud service, consolidate them into a powerful Internet of Things platform, and enable them be applied to any device in the world.

London-based Rampart Capital led the round alongside company insiders and returning venture capital firm Redpoint Ventures. The new funding brings the total raised to date by the company to $43 million and will further accelerate the continued rapid growth, development, and global adoption of Electric Imp’s platform by enterprises in commercial and industrial markets. The company is funded by Foxconn Technology Group, PTI Ventures, Rampart Capital and Redpoint Ventures.

Los Altos, California-based CEO and co-founder, Hugo Fiennes began building hardware and software for early ARM-based computers in the late 1980s. Before co-founding Electric Imp in 2011 he led the ARM hardware team through the first four generations of the Apple iPhone, and subsequently designed and architected the hardware for the Nest Thermostat. Early in his career he founded empeg, creator of the first in-car MP3 digital audio player. He then worked on numerous other MP3 players at Rio before moving to the US to work for Apple in 2006.

The idea for Electric Imp came about in early 2011 when Fiennes was remodelling his bathroom and wanted to add a strip of RGB lights under a cabinet to light the floor. His plan was to connect the lights to WiFi to display information ambiently – hourly weather forecast, daily calendar, stock prices – indicated with colour changes along the strip that could be viewed at a glance.

After much frustration with the tools available, he determined that there should be a better, simpler way to integrate Internet connectivity; the result was Electric Imp. Fiennes said: “This funding is a natural step in Electric Imp’s ongoing expansion and validates our approach with large commercial and industrial customers including Pitney Bowes and other yet to be announced global enterprises.

“Our company is strategically positioned to maximise the potential of our industry-leading technology platform where proven security and scalability are critical to commercial and industrial enterprises. 

“In 2014, we proved the reliability and usability of our scalable platform in the consumer market, and partnered with Murata to design and build our hardware modules, enabling our customers to connect their devices quickly, easily, and securely.

“In 2015, we launched our enterprise cloud offerings, which allow customers to build on top of our class-leading platform, accelerating their company-wide IoT strategies. Our continued focus on enterprise services has helped us with key customer wins, and has enabled our customers to get their devices connected in record time without sacrificing security.”

Fellow co-founder, Peter Hartley is based at the Cambridge UK office and draws from considerable software architecture and engineering expertise within a variety of disciplines, including animation, networking and embedded multimedia, for companies such as DisplayLink and Sigmatel.

CFO/COO Oliver Hutaff brings over 17 years of corporate and operational financial management to the table. Most recently he was CFO at fellow Californian business, Roku, Inc which also has a Cambridge base. He was honoured as 2012 CFO of the Year by the San Jose-Silicon Valley Business Journal.

In addition to technology firm Pitney Bowes, Electric Imp provides connectivity solutions to a diverse array of commercial and industrial customers in energy and resource management, health and fitness, industrial light equipment and HVAC systems.

Electric Imp’s platform, robust ecosystem of IoT partners and range of cloud offerings allows its customers to reduce operational costs through energy optimisation and resource management, measurable reduction of waste, and introduction of predictive and preventative maintenance. Hutaff said: “Our flexible solution, coupled with rapidly expanding commercial and industrial demand, were key factors in raising a solid C round in the face of a challenging funding environment.

“Global industrial and commercial enterprises are looking for ways to extract data from the physical world through the IoT and are turning to us to provide them with a fully secure company-wide IoT platform.”

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