Startup Raise Funds to Scale IoT with Battery-Free Bluetooth Solution

Wiliot, a fabless semiconductor start-up company, that is developing a wireless technology to eliminate the reliance on batteries or wired power has been funded by Qualcomm Ventures and M Ventures, the strategic, corporate venture capital arm of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany a leading science and technology company. The new technology, which powers itself by harvesting energy from radio waves, enables a sensor as small as a fingernail, as thin as a sheet of paper, and an order of magnitude reduction in price and cost of maintenance.

This new technology will allow a sensor/radio/processor combination to be embedded in products, packaging, walls and furniture so that these things can be smarter and communicate with other Bluetooth devices, including smartphones. The possible applications are wide-ranging in scope, including but not limited to connected packaging and products such as apparel, more accurate indoor location and affordable Real Time Location Systems that will revolutionize asset tracking.

The funding announcement was made at the Active & Intelligent Packaging Industry Association (AIPIA) Conference in Amsterdam where the company made its first public presentation to leaders in the packaging industry.

The latest investment round comes on the heels of a Series A Round financing effort that yielded $14 million with forward-thinking strategic technology investors Grove Ventures, Norwest Venture Partners, and 83North Venture Capital. This first round closed in January, the month Wiliot was founded. In all, Wiliot has raised a total of $19 million in its first 10 months as a semiconductor company.

According to Samuel McLaughlin from ABI Research - Wiliot’s passive semiconductor technology under development could disrupt the marketplace, highlighting the vast potential of passive Bluetooth’s low cost, size and long-term cost of ownership in a variety of applications.

With proof of concepts scheduled to start in 2H 2018, and a delivery to market date in early 2019, Wiliot’s technology will revolutionize the current Bluetooth beacon marketplace which after more than five years has reached a floor on reductions in cost, size and ease of maintenance that have hindered their widespread adoption.

Wiliot was formed by a group of wireless engineers experienced in building new products and the ecosystems required for their success. The group’s previous start-up, Wilocity, was acquired by Qualcomm in 2014 and was a Gigabit Wi-Fi pioneer, pushing the boundaries in terms of power consumption and connectivity.