Qualcomm Ventures and Spark Capital are investing $20 million in Internet of Things (IoT) startup Particle. The company, which makes what it calls a “full-stack” IoT platform, will use the funding to grow globally and support a wider array of hardware.
Zachary Crockett, CTO of Particle, explained that the company differentiates itself from other IoT platforms by offering a complete IoT system. That means, it not only provides the cloud platform, called Particle Cloud, but also the IoT hardware, the firmware for the devices, and the connectivity. “We want to be the one-stop shop for the customer,” he said.
The company launched in 2013 on Kickstarter and now its IoT platform is being used by gas stations, oil rigs, storm water drains, and in manufacturing equipment. According to the company, about 50 percent of S&P 500 companies are using Particle for IoT.
Spark Capital general partner Andrew Parker said that one of the reasons Particle was appealing was that the company is able to execute and get customer devices online quickly. “We were really impressed with the company’s decision to focus on the vertically integrated full-stack platform to get enterprise IoT products connected, while the rest of the industry focused on cloud-only platforms,” Parker said.
Crockett said the company can provide connectivity for cellular 2G and 3G networks as well as WiFi. And it isn’t just limited to the U.S. as Particle can provide IoT connectivity globally. However, Crockett added that the majority of Particle’s customers are in North America.
But Crockett said that in the future they will likely support LTE CAT-M network technology, which is currently deployed nationwide by Verizon and AT&T, and narrowband IoT (NB-IoT), which will likely be supported by T-Mobile and several European operators.