Wiliot Receives Backing From Vintage, Verizon, Maersk, PepsiCo, And NTT DOCOMO

By Amit Chowdhry ● February 19, 2020
  • Wiliot announced it received backing from Vintage Investment Partners, Verizon Ventures, Maersk Growth, PepsiCo, and NTT DOCOMO Ventures

It has been about a year since the very first engineering samples of the Wiliot chip behind closed doors at the National Retail Federation show in New York were displayed. Wiliot demonstrated the technology in action at NRF 2020 in its own booth and on the stands of Avery Dennison, SATO Corporation, and Aruba (a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company). And recently the company announced it received funding from a number of prominent companies.

“We have come a long way in the last year,” said Wiliot CEO Tal Tamir. “Twelve months ago, conditions had to be perfect for the very first tags to work. Now we demonstrate Wiliot tags on bottles of wine, boxes of pizza and on envelopes. We are understanding how these tiny sensors embedded into products and packaging can change the way things are made, distributed, sold, used and recycled. By having a multiprocessor compute engine that powers itself, we have the security and flexibility to bring sensing and connectivity to things that previously couldn’t be connected to the Internet of Things. Privacy is key if you are to connect products to the internet and nothing short of a system of this kind can make sure only the right people can see this information.”

This investment round was led by Vintage Investment Partners and will provide the resources for Wiliot for supporting its customers’ pilot projects and the growing development of Wiliot’s Cloud components.

“Investing in Wiliot was a clear choice considering the huge market for and disruptive power of their technology. They bring an experienced team with a proven ability to execute, as we saw when we invested in the founders’ previous company,” added Alan Feld, Founder & Managing Partner of Vintage Investment Partners.

Vintage Investment Partners, Verizon Ventures, Maersk Growth, PepsiCo, and NTT DOCOMO Ventures are joining previous Wiliot investors, including 83North, Amazon Web Services (AWS) Investment Arm, Avery Dennison, Grove Ventures, M Ventures, Norwest Venture Partners, Qualcomm Ventures LLC, and Samsung Venture Investment Corp.

“Entrepreneurial partners like Wiliot are part of PepsiCo’s ongoing global effort to work collaboratively with startups as we advance our ambitions to become faster, stronger, and better,” explained James P. Andrew, Executive Vice President, SodaStream, Beyond the Bottle, and New Ventures, PepsiCo. “Wiliot’s deep technology solution offers numerous use case possibilities, including the potential to better serve our partners by getting the right product, to the right place, at the right time.”

Wiliot Cloud enables IoT applications integrated with billions of products to scale. And it is also key to managing security and privacy. A machine learning component delivers ‘Sensorless Sensing.’ This eliminates expensive, bulky, and on-tag sensors by shifting the analytics to a cloud system that can learn and improve over time. And Wiliot is running an early access program as part of an invitation-only, controlled release of pre-production versions of the product with more than 20 world-leading brands.

“Wiliot’s technology will create an expansive opportunity for how products are tracked and industries are managed,” stated Merav Rotem Naaman, Managing Director of Verizon Ventures. “The company’s cloud-connected, battery-free Bluetooth tag enables a process that is more cost-efficient and consumer-centric, connecting new classes of ‘things’ to the internet – at scale.”

Wiliot’s vision is to connect everything important to the internet, changing the way things are made, distributed, sold, used, and recycled. And the company has a research and development team based in Israel, its operations team in Germany, and business development headquarters in San Diego, California.

“As a pioneer of a new category of battery-free Bluetooth sensor tags, Wiliot has the potential to significantly grow the opportunity for connectivity services for a much bigger Internet of Things and this has a high affinity for the NTT Group’s IoT business initiatives. Since we expect it can contribute to creating new values, we decided to invest in Wiliot,” commented Takayuki Inagawa, President and CEO at NTT DOCOMO Ventures.

Rasmus Winther Moelbjerg of Deloitte pointed out that they see technologies like Wiliot’s as being part of a major shift in the way supply chains are organized

“Historically, production and distribution were driven by forecasting models that could often be wrong. We see a future where ‘demand signals’ that communicate using existing infrastructure in real-time from the store and even from consumers’ homes as they use products. By having an active compute element built into products and packaging that can sense temperature and usage while securely managing a unique digital ID for each product, there is the potential to run much leaner supply chains, consumption-based business model, that reduce capital employed and carbon footprint while delivering a better experience to customers,” noted Moelbjerg.