Israeli startup Wiliot has raised $200m to develop its second generation of low cost energy harvesting sensor for the Internet of Things (IoT)
At the core of the current Wiliot IoT Pixel is a Bluetooth Low Energy wireless ARM microcontroller that can harvest energy from the RF signals around it. The 1MHz ARM Cortex-M0+ chip includes a self-power management unit, several sensor interfaces for temperature, humidity and proximity, a security engine and 1Mbits of non-volatile memory for programming and configuration.
The IoT Pixel uses the same printed antenna techniques used for RFID tags for low cost, high throughput production on reels of stamp-sized sensors to stick onto all kinds of products, from vaccine shipments to food shipments.
The company has now raised $289m and describes itself as a ‘Sensing as a Service’ company for the ‘Demand Chain’ rather than the supply chain. This could slash the capital tied up in inventories as products will be able to self-reorder based on usage, accelerating the adoption of the “subscription economy”.
The Series C funding round was led by SoftBank Vision Fund 2 which joins 83North, Amazon Web Services, and label maker Avery Dennison. Avery is also an investor in plastic chip foundry PragmatIC, which has worked with ARM on a flexible plastic M0+ microcontroller that would fit well for Wiliot’s technology.
- ARM shows first plastic M0+ microcontroller
- Taking plastic chips into healthcare
- Pragmatic startup gets support from label maker
- Amazon backs battery-free IoT startup Wiliot
- Wiliot debuts RF-powered Bluetooth tag
Other investors in Wiliot include Grove Ventures, M Ventures, the corporate VC of Merck in Germany, Maersk Growth, Norwest Venture Partners, NTT DOCOMO Ventures, Qualcomm Ventures LLC, Samsung Venture Investment, Vintage Investment Partners, and Verizon Ventures. As part of the investment, Amit Lubovsky, Investor for SoftBank Investment Advisers, will join Wiliot’s Board of Directors.
Wiliot-enabled products and packaging can sense temperature, fill level, motion, location changes, humidity, and proximity. Wiliot IoT Pixels can be integrated into vaccine vials, food packaging, and more, bringing real-time transparency to the supply chain, and the ability for brands for the first time to understand inventory levels throughout their retail channels. They can even understand how their products are used in customers’ homes through a highly secure, privacy-protected platform says Wiliot.
“Wiliot has created a vision of the future of AI-enabled IoT, and we are delighted that SoftBank is supporting us in making this future a reality,” said Tal Tamir, Wiliot’s CEO. “IoT is a vision created around Things and our mission at Wiliot is to use cutting edge hardware, AI-based sensing and an innovative business model to implement a safer and more transparent world, a world in which all the things around us help consumers use them better and suppliers avoid waste.”
“By inventing the first hyper-scalable, self-powered computer that uses AI to sense the world, Wiliot is positioned to bring together the digital and physical” said Yanni Pipilis Managing Partner at SoftBank Investment Advisers. “We have always believed that with IoT and AI, people will live better and healthier lives – where any food or medicine has the ability to understand if it’s safe to use and communicate seamlessly with people. We are pleased to play a part in helping Wiliot dramatically scale the ever-expanding application of IoT globally.”
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