How Everactive Is Producing Data Intelligence For The Physical World Using Always-On Wireless Sensors

By Noah Long ● July 7, 2019
  • Everactive — formerly known as PsiKick — is a company that is known for pioneering wireless and “batteryless” Internet of Things (IoT) systems which recently raised $30 million

Everactive — formerly known as PsiKick — is a company that is known for pioneering wireless and “batteryless” Internet of Things (IoT) systems. And Everactive recently announced it closed a $30 million round of funding led by Future Fund with participation from new investors Blue Bear Capital and ABB Technology Ventures along with existing investors New Enterprise Associates (NEA) and Osage University Partners. Including the recent round of funding, Everactive has raised $63 million since it launched.

“Removing the need for batteries solves one of the key limitations of the IoT and represents a fundamental paradigm shift, allowing our customers to deploy wireless sensors at scale and gain access to new, high-value data-driven insights,” said Everactive CEO Bob Nunn in a statement. “Over the last 18 months Everactive has productized our ultra-low-power silicon technology and developed a compelling go-to-market strategy that is now driving rapid customer adoption. Everactive will use the proceeds from the new round to meet the growing customer demand for our existing and future products.”

“We have long been aware of the value of wireless sensing for condition monitoring and predictive maintenance but, in many environments, the logistics and economics of battery-powered sensors have not made sense,” added ABB’s Head of Technology Ventures Grant Allen. “Everactive opens up a range of possibilities for truly maintenance-free sensing at broad scale and ABB is excited to deepen our partnership and introduce Everactive’s monitoring solutions to our customers.”

The potential of batteryless sensing is tremendous as it enables a vast amount of connected data from the physical world that stands to provide more insights than online data repositories — which is comprised primarily of user-generated and digitally native data (collective web activity).

Everactive is initially targeting the industrial sector where collecting and analyzing data on physical equipment and infrastructure could potentially have a profound and measurable impact serving to reduce downtime, cut maintenance costs, improve safety, and environmental impact and boost overall efficiency.

Late last year, Everactive launched its first product called the Steam Trap Monitor (STM) — which was built to continuously monitor the pervasive industrial and district energy steam trap in order to determine whether or not the trap has failed so that maintenance personnel can act to minimize costly energy waste and safety concerns.

The batteryless approach has been proven successful with a number of customers. One of those customers is Colgate-Palmolive.

“Everactive batteryless sensors are extremely promising and will certainly be important to our business. We’ve already thought up a number of use cases and will hopefully evaluate many more,” explained Colgate-Palmolive’s Supply Chain Innovation Director Gary Binstock.

Everactive’s products are currently in small-scale deployments. And its latest products include a Machine Health Monitor — which analyzes vibration on rotating equipment like industrial motors, pumps, and fans.

And Everactive also has a Flare System Monitor that mitigates the length and costs of flaring events in refineries.

“The data insights derived from Everactive’s maintenance-free monitoring solutions will quantifiably improve companies’ asset optimization, operational efficiency, and environmental footprint throughout the energy sector,” noted Blue Bear Capital partner Ernst Theodor Sack. “Moreover, the ability to extend Everactive’s technology to new products and markets was key to our investment thesis.”

Everactive is able to eliminate batteries due to its underlying integrated circuit and wireless networking expertise. And Everactive co-founders, Drs. Benton Calhoun and David Wentzloff have been working on ultra-low-power electronics since they collaborated at MIT’s Electrical Engineering & Computer Science program.

The two of them — now as professors at the University of Virginia and University of Michigan, respectively — continued to collaborate until several key proof points prompted them to spin the company out of the two research institutions. Everactive now has offices in Santa Clara, CA; Charlottesville, VA; and Ann Arbor, MI.

The proof points demonstrated the ability to continuously operate fully integrated circuits at up to 1/1,000th the power budget of commercially available chips allowing them to power their devices exclusively from low levels of harvested energy like indoor light, small temperature differentials, and vibration.

On top of the core chip technology, Everactive not only built its own self-powered sensor devices, but it also developed all the networking, software, and cloud analytics for delivering insights to customers.

“Everactive’s underlying technology is magical. They have innovated across the stack—from ultra-low-power chips and scalable networks, to adaptive edge-to-cloud analytics that optimize energy usage—to make batteryless sensors a reality,” pointed out Everactive investor and NEA Venture Partner Greg Papadoupolous.