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IoT Best in Breed fund set to go the distance

"We are looking for venture partners that will represent excellence in terms of innovation." Emanuele Angelidis

Innovative incubator looks to offer longer term support to 'start ups'. Neil Tyler reports.

London based Internet of Things incubator Breed Reply has just completed its second IoT Best in Breed funding round. The initiative, started last year, is intended to identify and support innovative IoT ideas.

Speaking to New Electronics, Emanuele Angelidis, CEO of Breed Reply, said he was pleased with the results of the first IoT Best in Breed Initiative, conducted towards the end of 2014, but added the latest round of funding had generated even more interest.

"We are looking for venture partners that will represent excellence in terms of innovation and the ideas they bring to the table, as well as the quality of the team involved," he said.

"Crucially, our decision to invest will be based on the most innovative opportunities and how valuable they might be in the longer term. How competitive is the market likely to be and will the product under development be 'defendable'? The stage of development is actually less important to us," Angelidis suggested.

According to Angelidis, while there is a lot of potential in the IoT market, it is one that is becoming increasingly fragmented.

Breed Reply, which also has offices in Italy and Germany, is part of the Reply group, which offers consultancy, systems integration and digital services to companies across Europe.

"Breed Reply was set up to offer three fundamental services," Angelidis said. "Funding at the 'seed' and 'early stage' level; 'know how' transfer of our business, managerial and technological expertise; and an ability to offer medium term involvement to help start ups to effectively establish themselves in their chosen market."

In return, the incubator takes a shareholding of up to 50% in the business.

Since starting its European and US IoT programme more than a year ago, the incubator is already supporting four start-ups – X-metrix, Sensoria, Greeniant and Cocoon.

Cocoon has created a smart home security system that senses unusual activity throughout the whole home without the need for any additional sensors or professional installation.

As Angelidis explained, Breed Reply was established primarily to take advantage of the burgeoning market in products associated with the IoT; in particular, wearable technologies. Its first investment in this sector was in July 2014, when it acquired 20% of US based Sensoria.

Sensoria's range of Fitness Smart Socks for runners uses textile sensors to detect activity type and impact forces. The data is transmitted through a lightweight, detachable anklet via Bluetooth Smart technology to smartphones running the company's Fitness mobile application.

The technology monitors data important to runners – including cadence and foot landing technique – that play a crucial role in reducing impact forces. The mobile application analyses this data and provides intuitive audio and visual feedback to runners during their running sessions.

According to Angelidis, he wants Breed Reply to be viewed differently from other incubators.

"Our key differentiator is that we can offer what I would describe as the transfer of 'know how'. We have an in house team with extensive knowledge of finance, technology and logistics, for example, as well as experience in how to build a business.

"Each start-up will have access to that team, which will offer daily support. Essentially, we provide an extended temporary management team for a 12month period, providing a range of support services," Angelidis explained.

"Looking beyond that, however, a key requirement for any small business is proper corporate governance – that's essential if it wants to obtain additional funding, for example. Companies need to establish credibility with investors and we can help put in place the corporate governance essential to achieving that."

Author
Neil Tyler

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