Breathless hype, meet $1 billion dollars.
Since Google bought Nest and its toys for $3.2 billion in January, followed by the CEO of Cisco publically declaring it as a $19 trillion industry and this year’s CES in Las Vegas featuring everything from connected toothbrushes to basketballs, the Internet of Things is having an extended and glorious moment in the hype-soaked sunlight.
But before we all came to be talking about this at the same time at the start of this year, new data from CB Insights released today shows that investors put $1.1 billion dollars into the Internet of Things across 153 deals last year. You know, 2013, when the Internet of Things was still underground. It represented a 49 percent year-on-year spike, if you disqualify the single round of mega-debt financing received by home automation company Vivint in 2012. Activity increased through every quarter of 2013.
The Internet of Things is a larger trend now, which has come to be driven by several separate impulses. Venture capital has flown toward home automation companies like August, SmartThings and Revolv, and companies looking to encourage us to quantify ourselves, like Fitbit who took in $43 million in funding in October.
Internet of Things companies don’t battle the same friction that the similarly lucrative wearable technology boom does. Wearable technology has the ability to completely reimagine our relationship with the online realm, but there’s no consensus about where the consumer demand will eventually fall. There are over one billion smartphones in the world, which already puts a lot of the hardware and connectivity for this in our pockets. Companies such as Nest that have been able to provide new connectivity and control to old household features have found both a market and a pot of gold.
Befitting of a new field, two-thirds of Internet of Things deals were at either seed or Series A level. Given how most Internet of Things companies are really just hardware companies with software disguises, the average deal size was large, coming in at $11.49 million.
The Internet of Things is a sporadically fascinating and occasionally frustrating area of innovation. Planet Labs are launching independently made satellites into space to map the earth, Pixie Scientific are making connected nappies that can sense health problems in children and Soil IQ have literally given connectivity to dirt. But for every good idea, there’s another one behind that looking to make a coffee pot that you can turn on with your iPhone from the next room. The breadth of this genre of products will continue to push investment hire, but the flame out rate will be fun to follow along with.
[image via ** RCB ** on flickr]