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Eurobites: IoT Startup Actility Raises $75M

Paul Rainford

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Vodafone UK pushes roaming offer; Orange Egypt chooses Openet; KPN invests in telemedicine; Germany and Israel collaborate on cybersecurity.

  • European Internet of Things (IoT) startup Actility has raised a juicy $75 million in a fresh round of funding, bringing the total it has now received to more than $100 million. The company's Thingpark platform provides back-office functionality for a range of low-power, wide-area network (LPWAN) technologies, including LoRa, LTE-M and NB-IoT, and is used by telcos including France's Orange (NYSE: FTE) and Dutch incumbent KPN Telecom NV (NYSE: KPN), both of which are among the company's investors. Actility CEO Mike Mulica said the company would use funds to speed up its expansion, particularly in the US and China, and also raised the prospect of acquisitions. The latest funding round attracted private equity firm Creadev, appliances manufacturer Bosch and satellite operator Inmarsat plc (London: ISAT) as new investors, and may be an endorsement of the LPWAN technologies in Actility's mix as well as the company itself. Mulica has previously been extremely dismissive of a rival LPWAN technology developed by France's Sigfox , arguing that its approach of acting as a "global operator" is off-putting to partners. (See IoT Startup Actility to Add 3GPP Support in 2016.)

  • Vodafone UK has launched a new advertising campaign trumpeting the fact that it has abolished roaming charges in 40 countries -- more than any other UK mobile operator, it says. It is also publicizing its new upgrade deal, whereby customers can upgrade to a new phone after just six months, and its new artificial intelligence (AI) chatbot, TOBi, which it claims will help speed up responses to online queries from its customers.

  • Orange Egypt has put Openet Telecom Ltd. 's Real-Time Offer Manager (RTOM) to work in order to present its customers with more relevant offers. Openet, based in Ireland, has been in the subscriber experience software game since 1999.

  • KPN Ventures, the venture capital arm of KPN, has invested an unspecified amount in Sensara, a provider of systems for monitoring the health and wellbeing of elderly people. Sensara's systems are intended to help care homes and home-care organizations prevent crises through early detection of behavior changes. The investment forms part of a €3.8 million (US$4 million) financing round by Sensara.

  • Germany's Cyber-Security Council has initiated what it hopes will be a fruitful relationship between German and Israeli cybersecurity communities by forming a collaboration with Israel's Checkmarx, Reuters reports. Checkmarx provides application security testing products to customers including Samsung and SAP.

  • Telekom Austria Group is launching its A1 brand in Slovenia, applying the moniker to its existing subsidiary, Si.mobil. And guess what? "Synergies" are being predicted.

  • Openreach , the network access arm of BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA), which is in the process of being "legally separated" from its parent, has called in consultants to help it establish a formal structure for sharing relevant network information with the likes of Sky and Vodafone, according to a Daily Telegraph report.

  • Tigo Tanzania has opened what it describes as a "state of the art" call center, which comes complete with "embedded data security measures" to protect customer information. The facility is managed by the PCCI Group.

  • Nuvias is hoping to accelerate the rollout of unified communications (UC) products supplied by Siphon Networks across the EMEA, with the opening of a dedicated UC practice for the region. Expansion in Germany will be the practice's first focus.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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    User Rank: Light Beer
    4/20/2017 | 10:05:09 AM
    re the Vodafone snippet
    TOBi or not TOBi, that is the question.


    I'll get me coat :-O
    User Rank: Light Sabre
    4/12/2017 | 12:32:15 PM
    IoT Hot
    IoT is clearly a hot sector for venture capital, along with areas such as AI, VR and blockchain. The payoff is clear: Huge IoT deployments are on the way, and investors know this could be a huge revenue generator that could give them the 1000X payoff they seek. 
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