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Friday, April 14, 2017

Actility raises $75m for wide area IoT

By Nick Flaherty

French low power wide area network (LPWAN) technology developer Actility has raised $75m to expand its delivery of the industrial Internet of Things (IoT) using a wide range of technologies .

The Series D funding round included Creadev, Bosch and Inmarsat, alongside telecoms operators KPN, Orange Digital Ventures, Swisscom and equipment maker Foxconn. A second closing later this month will see additional strategic investors joining the company without involving banks.

Actility's ThingPark platform is used for large-scale LPWA rollouts worldwide with the LoRaWAN LPWAN protocol that Actility co-developed, as well as LTE-M and NB-IoT. A software stack with the OS service and business support manager, application integration enabler, and e-commerce platform provides a turn-key IoT platform supporting sensor to cloud applications.

“This funding will enable us to grow our IoT technology and ecosystem platform faster to meet the needs of service providers, solution providers and enterprises in large industry verticals, for example rolling out our disruptive global location and tracking service more quickly,” said Actility CEO Mike Mulica. “It will also allow us to accelerate our strategy for the US, and build strength in China. And last but by no means least, it will enable us to look at strategic acquisitions to broaden our technology portfolio and cement our leadership in LPWA.”

“We have been looking the best project in the business of connectivity for the IoT for a while," said Florent Thomann, a member of Creadev’s management board, and in charge of new digital models. "In Actility, we found a company that offers an ideal solution and has made the perfect technology choices in LPWA and LTE-M to meet that growing connectivity market. We are convinced by both the company and its management, which shows a real visionary insight into the technology and business models and the way that connectivity will evolve. Furthermore, Actility’s team is proving to be particularly agile at innovation, adapting to new technologies very efficiently. We are pleased to bring our culture of ambition, support and sharing best business practice to help nurture Actility’s long-term growth.”

Having a satellite operator such as Inmarsat is a significant boost. “Inmarsat sees a great deal of potential in Actility, and its expertise in global IoT networks, based on LoRaWAN, makes it a natural fit for our investment," said Paul Gudonis, President of Inmarsat Enterprise. "There are clear synergies between us, namely the ability to deliver innovative connectivity services to customers in remote locations, creating the potential for a global IoT network. To this end, we recently developed our LoRaWAN-based network in partnership with Actility to enable IoT to reach every corner of the globe. We have many more projects planned with Actility and we are excited to support the company’s rapid growth as it continues to make great strides in the IoT arena. This market is rapidly maturing and Actility, with its growing ecosystem of partners, is ideally positioned to take advantage of this for the benefit of businesses across a variety of industries.”

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