Cisco among backers as EVRYTHNG seals $7m Series A funding round

Original backer Atomico, plus Dawn Capital and private equity firm BHLP LLC, invest in British Internet of Things software business alongside IT giant

EVRYTHNG, the ‘Internet of Things’ software business started by Digital Hall of Famer Andy Hobsbawm, has been backed to the tune of $7bn in a Series A round backed by Cisco, plus venture capital firms Atomico, Dawn Capital and New York’s BHLP LLC.

The announcement marks the stellar growth of the London-based business launched in October 2012 to make everyday products smart using tracking and identifying technologies such as RFID chips and QR codes.

Co-founded by Hobsbawm and business partner Niall Murphy, who previously started WiFi business The Cloud in 2003 and sold it to BSkyB in 2011, EVRYTHNG’s early clients included Diageo, Mondelez, British Airways, Moet & Hennessey and Unilever.

Alongside original investor Atomico and its private equity backers, the significance of corporate venturing cash from Cisco Investments cannot be underestimated.

The global IT giant simultaneously announced additional funding of $150m to back early stage firms in disruptive markets, with an additional two minority investments in Internet of Things ventures Alchemist Accelerator and Ayla Networks.

In January, Cisco announced the allocation of $100m to fund ventures in the emerging Internet of Everything (IoE) market, the scale of which was revealed in a report launched earlier this month.

Last year, Cisco’s CEO John Chambers said the internet of things “…will enhance business revenues by $14.4 trillion over the next decade”.

This year he’d revised the Internet of Everything figure to $19 trillion with 50 million ‘things’, inanimate objects such as fridges, thermostats, and smartphones, set to be connected by 2020.

At the moment, just “1% of things are connected to the internet”, said Cisco’s UK & Ireland CEO and Startups contributor Phil Smith, with the critical infrastructures on which we rely – utilities, transportation, cars, buildings, cities – made smart.

Speaking to Startups.co.uk in 2013, EVRYTHNG’s Hobsbawm, said the market could not be underestimated. “A global network connecting all physical devices, creating a new interconnected web of information, people and physical things is a game-changer,” said the Digital Hall of Fame inductee.

“Consider the far-reaching impact of a new technology like railways in America,” adds Hobsbawm. “The opportunities created by transporting goods over thousands of miles by rail transformed modern business.

“Corporations grew much larger so they needed bigger buildings and new forms of organisations, so secretaries and middle management were invented, along with typewriters, skyscrapers and elevators. In other words, the domino effect of the railroads over the next few decades was extraordinary. Similarly, the impact of the ‘internet of things’ will probably be equally transformational.”

EVRYTHNG’s deal seals the British company’s place at the heart of the Internet of Things ecosystem. The Startups Awards 2013 finalist in the Mobile Business of the Year category, has been lauded by clients for its innovative work.

Venky Balakrishnan, Diageo’s global VP for marketing innovation said last year: “EVRYTHNG’s technology is game-changing. We now have a profound strategic opportunity to transform our physical products into owned digital media, which can communicate personalized information and experiences to consumers, exactly when and where they want it.”

Also named as one of the top 20 start-ups of 2012 by Startups.co.uk and ranked at 57 in the Startups 100 2013 before it had completed its first full-year of trading, the software-as-a-service company said the Series A round will enable it to realise its vision of implementing the data management layer of Internet of Things.

This includes tracking products in real-time on the web, enabling greater engagement with customers via their purchases, and analysing and managing the enormous volume of digital information produced to connects people, products and systems.

CEO Niall Murphy highlighted the importance of Internet of Things technology and described it as “incredibly exciting to be right at the heart of this massive technology disruption”.

Founded by Skype co-founder Niklas Zennström, Atomico’s partner Mattias Ljungman added that the firm believes “this market represents a fundamental shift globally and is now rapidly accelerating as a high growth opportunity”.

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