5 SoCal Companies Advancing the Internet of Things

Photo by BENCE BOROS on Unsplash

A world where every device is connected to the internet, promoting greater efficiencies, continuous monitoring and 24-hour accessibility – that's the idea behind the Internet of Things. Whether it's a home virtual assistant like Alexa or an intelligent thermostat controlling the microclimate at the office, you likely experience smart technologies on a daily basis and these five Los Angeles and Southern California companies may have something to do about that. It's time to get to know these innovative brands advancing the Internet of Things.


Belkin International 

Playa Vista, CA

Founded in 1983

Belkin has one of those mythic origin stories, having started in a garage in Hawthorne, California with two employees before expanding into an international organization with over 1,000 staffers spread across the U.S., the Netherlands, Australia, Hong Kong and Latin America. The private company specializes in connectivity solutions to seamlessly integrate computers and consumer electronics into homes, cars, and offices. It’s WEMO series of products includes smart plugs, motion sensors, light bulbs & switches, and cameras that allow remote controls of IoT devices. Annual sales at Belkin are estimated to top $1 billion.  

Inspire

Santa Monica, CA

Founded in 2013

Greentech startup Inspire is attempting to become the Netflix of renewable energy. The company offers a “Smart Energy” subscription model where customers pay a flat monthly fee for an integrated smart home experience that includes a portfolio of smart devices (bulbs, thermostats, switches, Alexa, etc) all powered by 100% clean energy, rather than the mix of renewables and fossil fuels utilities currently pump across power lines. Rebate credits incentivize customers to turn off the lights when not in use and take other energy saving actions. Inspire currently offers its subscription service in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Massachusetts, and New Jersey, but, shockingly, not yet in its home state of California. Dutch energy giant Shell is just one investor backing the 100+ employee startup to the tune of $38.2 million.

Kneron

San Diego, CA

Founded in 2015

All of those smart home products, industrial control solutions and IoT devices we are coming to rely on require chips to get them to do those wonderful things they do. That could help explain why artificial intelligence IoT chip maker Kneron was able to raise $33 million over 2 funding rounds. Well, that and its facial recognition technology is already integrated at banks in Taipei, generating millions of dollars in revenue. Kneron counts 110 employees and has secured backing from Horizons Ventures, Alibaba Entrepreneurs Fund, Qualcomm and Sequoia Capital. Its debut A.I. Chip "KL520" features best-in-class power efficiency and consumes just a few hundred milliwatts, for highly efficient and ultra low-power neural processing unit A.I. computations.

OpenPath

Culver City, CA 

Founded in 2016

If you’ve got a company with employees, how do you give them access to the office building? In the past you could hand them physical keys or keycards, but now there’s a third option, enable them to use their smartphones to gain entry. Culver City-based startup OpenPath offers a cloud-based security solution that integrates with pG Suite and Office 365 to provide building access via Bluetooth, Wi-Fi or LTE. Administrators can schedule locking/unlocking and create custom zones that restrict access to specific areas. Remote access can lock and unlock individual doors anywhere day or night, while powerful encryption provides protection against key cloning and copying. Openpath counts over 50 employees and has raised $20 million Series B with Upfront Ventures and Emergence Capital investing in the startup. 

Ring

Santa Monica, CA

Founded in 2012

Ring hasn’t even reached its tenth birthday, but with its increasingly ubiquitous security doorbells and cameras, the brand has already established itself as a leader in the IoT space. The company is on a mission to create a "Ring of Security" around residential homes and neighborhoods with its portfolio of security devices. And it seems to be accomplishing that objective as law enforcement agencies consistently consult Ring and other surveillance cameras installed outside of private homes  in order to track down ne'er-do-wells, scofflaws, and other persons of interest. In 2018, Amazon acquired Ring for $1B, strengthening the e-commerce site’s footprint within the IoT ecosystem.

Want to learn about other Los Angeles and Southern California area enterprises doing big things? Take a look at 5 SoCal Companies Accelerating EV Adoption.