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For the second year in a row, Farnell element14 is proud to be an official partner of Startupbootcamp IoT, an intensive three-month acceleration program for tech-based startups. We recently traveled to Startupbootcamp IoT's London headquarters to meet the participating startups for the 2017 cohort.

Introducing ThingBlox

ThingBlox is a Hungarian startup that offers a complete package of IoT communications technology with extremely high levels of security, authenticability and mass provisioning without coding in simple, scalable hardware modules.

 

Through working on a variety of hardware projects over the years, CEO Gabor Borjan and his team realised that while making connected devices has become relatively simple, it remains difficult to make them truly secure. ThingBlox was born out of a desire to combat this issue and create truly un-hackable and authenticated IOT communication solutions.

 

About the Product

 

ThingBlox devices consist of a number of microprocessors, micro controllers, memory chips and various network interfaces including WiFI, LoRa and NB IoT modules. They can be used without any advanced hardware or security know-how, making it possible to create high security communication products without any third party assistance. It is compatible with all cloud-based IOT platforms and offers unlimited scalability in a low-cost, out of the box package.

 

Joining Startupbootcamp IoT...

 

Relocating from Hungary to the UK for Startupbootcamp IoT has already opened up ThingBlox to a wide range of opportunities according to Borjan. Because their devices have such a wide variety of potential applications, ThingBlox could potentially be utilised by many of the other participating startups - a possibility the team are eager to explore. They're also hoping to build connections within the wider developer community and attract partners for manufacturing and distribution. "It's a totally different feeling" explains Borjan. "We feel very much at home within this community."

 

We'll be continuing to check in with ThingBlox and the other Startupbootcamp participants over the coming weeks, so keep checking this space for more updates. You can also learn more about Mothive on their official website and on the Startupbootcamp website.

For the second year in a row, Farnell element14 is proud to be an official partner of Startupbootcamp IoT, an intensive three-month acceleration program for tech-based startups. We recently traveled to Startupbootcamp IoT's London headquarters to meet the participating startups for the 2017 cohort.

 

Introducing Mothive

 

Mothive is a Precision Agriculture company that specialises in developing autonomous IoT devices and machine learning algorithms to support decision making and reduce risk in agriculture. Their current focus is on building novel prediction models to support high value crops of berries and grapes grown both outdoors and inside glasshouses and poly-tunnels. Farmers can then use the information provided to improve and reduce operational costs and fend off common diseases to increase their yields.

 

About the product

 

Quality products with a proven track record are at the heart of the Mothive solution, which includes a combination of sensors purchased from reputed brands such as Decadent Devices, plus a self-developed PCB featuring an STM microprocessor and a radio frequency module from Texas Instruments.

 

Research indicated that the farmers strongly favoured simplicity, so the Mothive solution is built around a user-friendly interface without too many graphs. Because the solution has been developed through real world field data, they have been able to develop highly accurate models for predicting disease and optimising operational costs such as irrigation, based on actual crop needs.

 

Joining Startupbootcamp IoT...

 

Co-founder Angelo Monteiro is hoping to use the Startupbootcamp IoT experience to attract investment for Mothive and to open the door to potential partnerships. The mentors involved in the program will have a big impact on Mothive's development, allowing them to get detailed feedback from established industry experts.

 

"It's an amazing opportunity..." says Monteiro. "Over the coming weeks our priority is to gather as much feedback as possible from the mentors and use it to potentially re-think some of our ideas. We're also excited to take advantage of the Growth Studio workshops, where we're hoping to really learn a lot..."

 

We'll be continuing to check in with Mothive and the other Startupbootcamp participants over the coming weeks, so keep checking this space for more updates. You can also learn more about Mothive on their official website and on the Startupbootcamp website.

For the second year in a row, Farnell element14 is proud to be an official partner of Startupbootcamp IoT, an intensive three-month acceleration program for tech-based startups. We recently traveled to Startupbootcamp IoT's London headquarters to meet the participating startups for the 2017 cohort.

 

 

Introducing Internet of Trees

 

Internet of Trees is a Forest Monitoring Solution that uses remote modules and IoT technology to raise alerts and facilitate rapid response to forest fires and illegal logging. The startup originated in the Central American republic of Honduras, a country that loses 40 to 50 hectares of forest every year, contributing to major health and environmental issues such as pollution, soil erosion and drought.

 

 

About the product...

 

Internet of Trees Io3 Platform is a two-tiered solution. A series of remote monitoring modules are installed in the forest land to measure and detect smoke, fire and temperature increment. This data is then sent to a monitoring web platform which analyses the information and raises alarms and notifications accordingly. The monitoring occurs in real-time, with quick localisation of alerts in protected zones via GPS.

 

Joining Startupbootcamp IoT...

 

After a successful experience at the Selection Days, in which their startup received highly positive feedback from the mentors, Internet of Trees co-founder Goering Coffey and his colleagues were invited to relocate to Startupbootcamp IoT's London headquarters to participate in the three month accelerator program.

 

"Knowledge is one of the most important things we're looking to get out of the Startupbootcamp IoT experience" says Coffey. "Our goals are to finish our prototype in time for demo day, develop the product and attract investors who can help us to launch Internet of Trees onto the market as soon as possible."

 

We'll be continuing to check in with Internet of Trees and the other Startupbootcamp participants over the coming weeks, so keep checking this space for more updates. You can also learn more about Internet of Trees on their official website and on the Startupbootcamp website.

For the second year in a row, Farnell element14 is proud to be an official partner of Startupbootcamp IoT, an intensive three-month acceleration program for tech-based startups. We recently traveled to Startupbootcamp IoT's London headquarters to meet the participating startups for the 2017 cohort.

 

 

Introducing StoryBot

 

StoryBot is a hand-held, screen-free gaming device that aims to improve the health and wellbeing of young children through promoting physical activity and social play. By bringing together connected content and innovative technology, StoryBot offers an immersive, highly customisable experience to stimulate the imagination and encourage the user to find new ways to play and interact.

 

About the product...

 

StoryBot's main unit is a hand-held device featuring a variety of sensors, microphones and haptic technology that allows it to interpret the user's movements and guide them through a series of adventures and challenges. It can also be paired with a variety of 'skins' to bring different games and characters to life. These skins are comparable to the different games cartridges you might use on a traditional gaming device, making StoryBot infinitely customisable, with new adventures, challenges and unique characters constantly available to ensure the child remains interested and engaged.

 

Joining Startupbootcamp IoT...

 

StoryBot CPO Meir Biton hopes that by participating at Startupbootcamp IoT, his company can tap into the knowledge and experience of the various mentors who will be working with them throughout the program. "There's very little room for mistakes during this first run" he explains. "Many of the mentors have direct experience of bringing a product to market, and we're hoping to tap into that knowledge and really get deep into planning and strategy development for the next year.

 

We'll be continuing to check in with StoryBot and the other Startupbootcamp participants over the coming weeks, so keep checking this space for more updates. You can also learn more about StoryBot on their official website and on the Startupbootcamp website.

For the second year in a row, Farnell element14 is proud to be an official partner of Startupbootcamp IoT, an intensive three-month acceleration program for tech-based startups. We recently traveled to Startupbootcamp IoT's London headquarters to meet the participating startups for the 2017 cohort.

 

 

Introducing HUDlog

 

HUDlog's Head Up Display projects offer a smart augmented reality for professional drivers, projecting essential driving information through a vehicle's windshield to ensure that drivers never need to take their eyes off the road.

 

The project was inspired by an incident when CEO Gabriel Hercule was hit by a vehicle. The subsequent police report revealed that the driver was distracted behind the wheel. Hoping to find a solution to reduce the number of similar accidents happening in the future, Hercule started researching technologies that could help drivers to remain focused on the road during long-haul journeys.

 

About the product...

 

The main features of HUDlog include an optical component featuring a lens and various mirrors, plus a TFT LCD display, SIM card and telecom compatibility. While other products offer some similar functions, Hercule hopes that HUDlog can carve out a niche in the market by combining a number of key features to create a 'one stop shop' for essential driving information and road safety.

 

Joining Startupbootcamp IoT...

 

Like all of this year's participants, HUDlog won their spot on the Startupbootcamp IoT program after attending the 'Selection Days', in which 21 shortlisted startups are whittled down to 9 successful candidates.

 

"As founders, we like to think that we know the ins and outs of our Startups" admits Hercule. "But the judges and mentors really hit the nail on the head with some of their questions, and we had to do a little bit of thinking. Overall though, it went well and felt like an appetizer for the overall acceleration program itself."

 

Hercule's ambition is for HUDlog to finalise the Minimum Viable Product (MVP) phase of their development, refine their business plan with the help Startupbootcamp IoT's partners at Growth Studio and to get some investors on-board to help them to take the product to the next level.

 

We'll be continuing to check in with HUDlog and the other Startupbootcamp participants over the coming weeks, so keep checking this space for more information. You can also follow them on their official website and on the Startupbootcamp website.

The Startupbootcamp IoT 2017 Cohort was officially launched last month, with nine new startups gathering in London for an intensive three-month acceleration program, in which they will attend workshops, one-on-one sessions and special events with business mentors, hardware professional, corporate partners and potential investors. They will also receive dedicated support on key areas such as business development, marketing and finance, access to a fast prototyping lab and shared working space and £15,000 expenses.

 

The highlight of the program will be a special 'Demo Day' in January 2018, in which the startups will have the opportunity to showcase their products in front of an invited audience of potential investors, partners and customers. F

 

For the second year in a row, Farnell element14 is proud to be an official partner of Startupbootcamp IoT. Last month, we travelled to their London headquarters to meet the new startups and learn more about their journey so far and what they're hoping to get out of their participation in the program...

 

 

The participating startups for the Startupbootcamp IoT 2017 cohort are...

 

HUDlog

Through an augmented reality interface, HUDlog is improving professional driver habits so that fleet managers can reduce their day-to-day fuel costs and vehicle maintenance expenses.

 

Internet of Trees

Thanks to a wireless monitoring module, Internet of trees allows conservation groups to monitor a whole forest, helping them detect fires and monitor environmental factors (such as temperature and soil conditions) affecting forest growth.

 

Mothive

Mothive helps high-margin fruit growers to increase production yields and reduce the risk of crop disease by giving them the data they need to improve management activities (such as irrigation) and predict future cultivation.

 

Odyssey Sensors

Odyssey Sensors has built TankSentry, an easy, efficient and cost effective way for low-margin farmers to manage their water supply. Their solution can be integrated with existing data management subscriptions allowing farms to spend less money and time collecting and analyzing water data.

 

Robotic Solutions

Robotic Solutions is giving the manufacturers and owners of cleaning machines a ready to install tracking device that helps an end-user improve clearning habits and increase operational efficiency.

 

Storybot

Storybot is a screen-free gaming device for children which transports them into immersive worlds. New and popular games can be played solo or with friends to help keep children physically and socially active.

 

Sonodot

Sonodot increases a warehouse’s or manufacturer’s efficiency and safety by allowing them to track high-value assets (such as forklifts) or perishable goods. Sonodot’s plug and play device provides key stakeholders with this data in real time.

 

ThingBlox

ThingBlox has developed a range of plug and play hardware modules that allow IoT devices to securely communicate with one another without the threat of being hacked.

 

Unifi.id

Through a special long range RFID chip in a standard plastic card, Unifi.id gives building managers new levels of insight into where people are in their building, allowing them to deliver better service, improve security and safety, and optimise their utility usage.

 

Over the coming weeks, the startups will be hard at work on refining their positioning, branding, go-to-market strategy and much more. They will also be focusing on technical viability, with each startup developing both a hardware and software component to their solution.

 

We will be continuing to follow the progress of the entrepreneurs in this space over the coming weeks. If you have any questions or comments, please let us know and we'll be happy to pass them on to the participants.

When we opened applications to Startupbootcamp IoT's 2017 program back in April we felt that support for Industrial and B2B startups was lacking and that’s why we made a conscious effort to meet and help more of them in the months that followed. Fast forward to today and, having begun our second growth program this week, below are the nine startups we’ll be supporting over the coming months.

 

Would love to get the thoughts of the community on each of the startups in the comments section below; recommendations, advice, support... It's all very welcome!

 

HUDlog

Through an augmented reality interface, HUDlog is improving professional driver habits so that fleet managers can reduce their day-to-day fuel costs and vehicle maintenance expenses.

 

Internet of Trees

Thanks to a wireless monitoring module, Internet of trees allows conservation groups to monitor a whole forest, helping them detect fires and monitor environmental factors (such as temperature and soil conditions) affecting forest growth.

 

Mothive

Mothive helps high-margin fruit growers to increase production yields and reduce the risk of crop disease by giving them the data they need to improve management activities (such as irrigation) and predict future cultivation.

 

Odyssey Sensors

Odyssey Sensors has built TankSentry, an easy, efficient and cost effective way for low-margin farmers to manage their water supply. Their solution can be integrated with existing data management subscriptions allowing farms to spend less money and time collecting and analyzing water data.

 

Robotic Solutions

Robotic Solutions is giving the manufacturers and owners of cleaning machines a ready to install tracking device that helps an end-user improve clearning habits and increase operational efficiency.

 

Storybot

Storybot is a screen-free gaming device for children which transports them into immersive worlds. New and popular games can be played solo or with friends to help keep children physically and socially active.

 

Sonodot

Sonodot increases a warehouse’s or manufacturer’s efficiency and safety by allowing them to track high-value assets (such as forklifts) or perishable goods. Sonodot’s plug and play device provides key stakeholders with this data in real time.

 

ThingBlox

ThingBlox has developed a range of plug and play hardware modules that allow IoT devices to securely communicate with one another without the threat of being hacked.

 

Unifi.id

Through a special long range RFID chip in a standard plastic card, Unifi.id gives building managers new levels of insight into where people are in their building, allowing them to deliver better service, improve security and safety, and optimise their utility usage.

 

 

What’s Next?

In the coming weeks we’ll be working with the teams on, amongst other things, their positioning, branding, and go-to-market strategy. Given each startup is developing both a hardware and software component to their solution, we’ll also be focusing on the technical viability of each solution. This is all with the aim of getting each startup ready to talk to partners, investors and customers in time for our Investor Week and Demo Day events in January next year.

 

Of course if you’re interested in talking to any of the teams above before then, or want to learn more about the program, then do get in touch!

Raph Crouan | Startupbootcamp IoT

 

Last Friday, element14 was delighted to invite Raph Crouan - Founder and Managing Director of Startupbootcamp IoT | Connected Devices - to deliver a live webinar on the what, why, when and how of securing investment for your hardware startup.

 

Raph has dedicated his career to helping IoT and hardware startups to validate, build and scale their business models. Alongside his role at the head of Startupbootcamp IoT, he is also a Founding Board Member & Chair for SMEs in the Alliance for IoT Innovation (AIOTI) at the European Commission, a Founding Board Member of the French IoT Think Tank and an angel investor and adviser to a number of startups including Undagrid and Beasts of Balance. Prior to launching Startupbootcamp IoT, he worked for Apple as Head of TeleCom Business Development for SoHo and SME Markets in Europe, The Middle East, India and Africa (EMEIA). He has scouted and reviewed over 600 IoT startups over the course of his career.

 

The webinar covered a range of topics, including:

 

Current investment trends for hardware and Internet of Things startups to be aware of.

  • What investors look for when investing in startups.
  • What startups need to demonstrate to investors in terms of progress, future potential and financials.
  • What materials and answers startups need to perfect before speaking to investors.
  • Q&A session with Webinar participants

 

If you weren't able to attend the live Webinar, you can now view it in full on the element14 You Tube channel.

 

 

Startupbootcamp IoT | Connected Devices is a three-month accelerator program open to IoT startups from all over the world. Successful applicants will receive access to a global network of business mentors, hardware professionals, professionals, corporate partners, potential customers and investors, in addition to an intensive schedule of workshops, one-to-one sessions and events. A communal working space with a fast prototyping lab and £15,000 expenses is also provided. The next event takes place in London from October 2017. Applications are open until 31st July 2017 from the Startupbootcamp IoT website.

Last year, in partnership with Premier Farnell, we launched Startupbootcamp IoT – a growth program for entrepreneurs which aims to make the journey of building a connected hardware startup clearer, shorter, and more successful. Since then we have run our first 3-month program, opened applications to our next one which begins in October, and seen a pattern in the main issues facing ‘internet of things’ and hardware startups today. We’ve learned a lot about what entrepreneurs need in order to grow their business, and the following blog post acts as a summary of this… Ten things that we feel hardware startups need to consider when developing a connected device:

 

 

1. Establish your brand and ‘why’ early on, and make sure it runs through everything you do as a company (Why do we exist? What do we do? How do we do it? etc.). This isn’t just for marketing purposes. It will help you design your company, your product, and most importantly the category you’re in. Write this all down in one document so that there is no ambiguity amongst your team and you have a reference point for every piece of communication you create or action you take. 

 

 

2. Category design is crucial for hardware startups. How are you ‘different’ from others ? Note: it’s not always about being ‘better’. What is your customer’s ‘aha’ moment when they realise they need your product? What does your customer’s journey look like when they go from a place where they realise there’s a problem, to knowing you’re the solution? You need to really understand this so you can create a point of view that defines a new category. Build your category up, then sell your product and dominate the category.

 

 

3. When assembling the first prototype of your device try and keep production close to your team, both geographically and with hiring. You’ll need to retain a lot of control over it and that is difficult to do when the development is taking place in a different country, particularly across time zones. Try and keep the process in-house too, on-boarding a good CTO as a co-founder if needed.

 

 

4. Think carefully before manufacturing your product in China. Below are some (of the many!) things to take into account:

 

  • Going for the lowest price is usually at the expense of quality and in the long term you’ll be worse off.
  • It is vital to establish a systematic approach in the communication with manufacturers. Cultural differences make effective communication very difficult.
  • If you have an important IP component in your product then approach Chinese manufacturers with caution and have measures in place to ensure there is no misunderstanding between you and them. As a start: pick your factory carefully, file the IP in China, and explicitly state ownership of the product and tooling.
  • Account for the delays that the Chinese New Year – which takes place in the middle of January – can cause.

 

 

5. Focus on product essentials, not ‘nice to haves’. Despite how much has been written about talking to potential customers before going into development, it’s an area still widely overlooked by hardware startups. There is a temptation to over-develop a device, adding features to it that really aren’t needed or wanted. Doing this causes headaches for both your marketing team and customers, and rarely creates products that are 10 times better than your competitors.

 

StartupBootcamp-IoT-Demo-Day-25-Jan-17-Image-by-Dan-Taylor-dan@dantaylorphotography.com-90.jpg

 

 

6. A hardware startup’s manufacturing timeline and go-to-market strategy need to be synched. Things go slower than you expect so be conservative with customer promises and financial runway. For example, if you’re working on a consumer device and want to be on shelves at Christmas, any retail deal should be done by Spring with production finalised by Autumn.

 

 

7. However brilliant your device, things do not sell themselves. You will have to market ferociously and continuously. Get comfortable with that. The same logic applies to searching for, and securing, investment. For investors you are the product.

 

 

8. Securing investment for a hardware company is the ultimate catch 22. You need to show traction, yet you can’t show traction until you have the money to develop the product. There are of course ways around this from an MVP / customer development point of view, but it’s also worth exploring pilots with corporate partners. Such partnerships can generate early revenue and traction.

 

 

9. Unless the IP is exceptional, your piece of hardware is rarely your USP. The entire solution is what matters, and it’s also what protects you from copycat devices. The data, analytics, and use of the device via an interface or machine learning is what creates real value. This is what investors will be looking at. Yes they’ll like seeing your prototype in an initial meeting to give them something tangible to look at and feel, but the real value comes in everything behind the hardware.

 

 

10. Know what showcases your company best. Pitch decks, one-pagers, company overviews… There are plenty of guides out there on what their structure should be and what they should include. Read them, make sure you have included the essentials, and then do whatever you think presents your company best. If a standard one-pager isn’t in keeping with the brand you’ve established then find your alternative. People, investors included, like different. Be comfortable giving it to them.

 

 

Armed with these lessons we’ve now opened applications to our next program which begins in London this October. We’ll be focusing on supporting startups that are using IoT in high-impact areas such as the environment, sustainability and society in general. Find out more, or apply, HERE.

In the third and final of our updates from the Startupbootcamp IoT | Connected Devices class of 2016/2017, we meet the participating startups shortly after 'Demo Day', in which they had the opportunity to pitch in front of over 400 potential investors, corporate partners, mentors and members of the press.

 

With the program now winding down, the Startups had the opportunity to reflect on their experiences and discuss the next steps as they prepare to take their products onto the market.

 

 

The application period for the next Startupbootcamp IoT | Connected Devices opens on 24th April 2017. Check out the official website for more information.