[This post is a summary of 470+ IoT startups in India, listed in the IoT Forum-IESA IoT startup directory. See the end note for more details]
The World of IoT
Internet of Things (IoT) is at the top of the hype cycle today with every industry vertical weighing and leveraging IoT for increasing efficiency, productivity and exploring new business models moving from capex to opex and increasing revenue. The concept of IoT is not new. It has existed in a limited extent for at least a couple of decades in the industrial and utilities sector. So what is all the hype about? The biggest change has been that all the technology components of IoT like sensors, edge node, wireless connectivity, gateway, cloud infrastructure, analytics etc. have matured significantly, they have come down atleast an order of magnitude in cost, development tools and off-the-shelf modules and opensource technology make it fairly easy and financially feasible to provide a fully integrated sensor to the cloud solution today. Significant challenges remain on security, optimization, standardization, connectivity and actual deployment where our efforts are being focused on.
In the last 5 years IoT startups have grabbed attention and angel.co has over 3000+ IoT startups globally listed. A whopping sum of $12.5B has been put into IoT startups worldwide in the last 5 years by the VC community (according to CB Insights).
India IoT Startups: 60%+ Growth
India is currently the third largest startup ecosystem in the world. While the ecosystem is heavily e-commerce, hyper-delivery and software focused, we were surprised to see the action on IoT when we started tracking the IoT ecosystem a couple of years back. IoT Forum [An initiative by The Indus Entrepreneurs (TiE) and India Electronics and Semiconductor Association (IESA)] started tracking, organizing IoT seminars and events and mentoring IoT startups since mid 2014.
There were 123 IoT startups by the end of 2014. By 2015, this number grew to be around 275. By 2016, at the time of the release of this directory at IoTNext, we had crossed over 470 IoT Startups, almost a 60% growth.
Location: Not just in Bangalore
It is of no surprise to see that Bangalore is the hotbed of IoT startups with more than 50% of the IoT startups from Bangalore. National Capital Region (NCR) and Mumbai took the second and third spots respectively.
Other tech cities like Hyderabad and Pune were in fourth and fifth spots respectively and many cities with a few startups only.
Segments: Diverse uses of IoT in India
There is no single vertical market that is taking the most significant pie. In terms of end markets these IoT startups cater to, the startups are pretty well distributed across verticals.
60% or more of these startups are in the Managed Solutions and IoT enabled Services play. These end market focused startups have identified certain segments where IoT would make a compelling business case mostly in terms of improving efficiency/productivity and have built or bought the different components of IoT from the sensor to cloud to offer a value added service to their customers. These startups have developed domain understanding in these areas, some have developed specific Intellectual Property (IP) to address the needs. Most have a business model of recurring services revenue besides upfront hardware and installation charges.
To illustrate the segments, names of startups mentioned here are for illustration only.
CarIQ was probably one of the first in the automotive monitoring and fleet management plugging into the OBD port of the car and providing cloud based analytics, but now it is proving to be a popular segment with AutoTranz, CarPM, AutoWiz,Yatis, 6Zene and others joining in. eMobility has Ather Energy, Tork Motorcycles, Menza Motors, Anthem and AltiGreen making connected 2/4 wheeler EV/HV vehicles and retrofits paving the way for curbing pollution and our goal of achieving greener transportation.
Autonomous Devices: Robotics and Drone
Robotics is another emerging field for the Indian startup ecosystem. GreyOrange Robotics was an early mover in automating warehousing that raised $30M funding from several marquee investors. Most of the focus seems to be on grounds up innovation in terms of the affordability. Asimov Robotics ARK Robot, Systemantics are focused on the factory automation, Gridbots is focused on mine sweeping and cleaning atomic power plants and Grobomac is focused on agriculture space for cotton picking. Endless Robotics has just raised seed funding focused on Robots for construction and painting industry making the work more consistent and safe.
There are a clutch of Drones and UAV startups like ideaForge (NETRA), Skylark Drones, R2 Robotomics, Asteria Aerospace, Tartan Sense etc.
Smart Home and Buildings
Silvan Automation and 75F are the most prominent ones in home and building automation. This is a very popular segment with several players including eGLUE, iMonitor, Surmount, Icasa, TagPlus, Albasmart and many others.
Smart Factory and Industrial Automation
Asset tracking, increasing productivity and utilization, reducing maintenance costs and extracting the information from the PLC machines for productivity dash-boarding are the range of current IoT activities in factories. Companies like Covacsis, Altizone, Prophecy Sensorlytics and Entrib along with industrial automation players like Cascademic, Ascent, Aura Automation, bit-by-bit and Sensibridge are playing in this space.
Smart Agriculture and Food
Even a relatively less popular Smart Agriculture and Food segment (30 odd startups) has CropIn, Stellapps, Pynco, Nimble and Ecozen among others. While many are focused on precision agriculture, a number of startups are focused on increasing the efficiency of the logistics of food delivery from the farm to the table.
Healthcare and Wearables
Fourus (3Nethra), Sofomo (Lifeplot) and Vesag are some of the companies today in the scale up phase. Cardiac Design Labs, Ten3T, Tricog etc are addressing heart diseases. Wearables has a lot of following with Goqii (leading provider for fitness bands and associated service in India), Lechal, Cooey, getActive, SenseGiz, easyM2M etc . The wearable category is morphing into an interesting specialty in performance sports with SlamDunq (golf), Retisense (running), Flip Technolgies (skateboard), SeeHow (cricket)etc. Live Braille is one of the many working on assisting the blind.
It is a diverse segment with a range of applications and a number of startups. Startups focused on improving our parking experience include PParke, ParkNinjas and ParkWheels. PAQS and Oizom, are focused on pollution and air quality monitoring. Smart street lighting has Eigen and iRAM among others. Surveillance of public places and ATM etc is a popular sub-segment with video analytics and computer vision to the fore by Videonetics, Delopt, Auiros, Coresco, Anidra etc.
Logistics and Transportation
Transportation and Logistics is an area rife with inefficiencies in India. There are several companies in this space like Loginext, Nimble Wireless, EzyTruk, Logistomo, Locanix, Trak and Tell, Blackbuck, Rivig, Roambee, Tempogo among others. Some of them have received significant amount of funding making this sector of IoT the most well funded among all verticals.
Development and Training
There is good support for training in IoT for individuals as well as companies and running hackathons etc like NexIoT, Frugal Labs, Sensibridge, Aindra, Asimov Robotics, Axleta, Eigen, Inove, Inventrom, Microhope, Robolab, Robotech, Simbiot, Starbru,Transiot, Zreyas Technology etc.
IoT Design Services
There are many companies offering services to design embedded electronics and some cover complete product engineering around IoT products. Some have developed their own prototyping boards and connectivity modules. Some others specialize in 3D printing for final packaging and some on testing and debugging. Technosphere lab, Altiux, Tronics Zone, 1byZerolabs, Kneweron, Revealing Hour,Technigriti, Connavate,Embitel and Implantaire are startups focused in the Design Services segment among others.
IoT Platforms abound
We are seeing a proliferation of IoT Platform startups in India as it has similarly happened all around the world. With over 360+ IoT platform companies worldwide and 60+ in India, it is a crowded market. This is also the space where most mergers and acquisitions have happened so far. Some Indian players are Einsite, DataGlen, Eyewee(Athena), Octoblu, Sensgrow, TechEywa, Allerin, Cloud4Things, Embien, Golgi, Indriyn, Kalycito(Alerta), Krestere among others.
Most managed service play in remote infrastructure management use an in-house platform. Companies like Altizon and Cupola Technologies and many others have developed their own full stack IoT Platform and now leveraging this ready IoT platform to provide a systems integration and managed services play to customers mostly for the SME segment who might find Thingworx, Azure and Watson to be too expensive and might want more customization and dedicated local support. Few others are playing horizontally, licensing the platform like WebNMS from Zoho and Preva Systems.
True to the software strength of India, most of the Indian IoT startups have built their own basic and functional IoT platforms on AWS and Azure without relying on any third party platforms. But now with plethora of platforms out there, it is far easier to use rather than build which will cut down the Time to Market several times getting the startup to focus on the Application development.
Analytics and AI
Analytics and AI platform companies in India have been focused mostly on typical Big-Data problems in Retail, Financial and Social Marketing till date. IoT is emerging as a category for Analytics and AI. Companies like Prophecy Sensorlytics is focused on the predictive analytics of machines in factories, Clytics and Elnetty for water and energy management and IQLect is taking more of a horizontal view for IoT Analytics with their platform. Machine Pulse and Flutura are building predictive analytics for specific sub segments of the industrial sector.
Image/Video, Gesture and Audio Processing is the next wave of Human-Machine Interface and Machine Vision applications. Image and Video Analytics finds numerous use cases in making out traffic lights smarter, turning our dumb CCTV cameras to intelligent ones and as well as numerous other machine vision application in industrial and medical. There are several Indian companies focusing on the vision analytics space both at the edge and the cloud like Tonbo Imaging, Uncanny Vision, 2020 Imaging, SigTuple, Staqu, Remidio, Corseco, Image ProVision and Videonetics. The company Auviz Systems focused on Image processing on the edge using FPGA platform was acquired by Xilinx recently. Uniphore is focused on speech recognition incubated out of IIT Chennai.
On the hardware core technology front, India is relatively light in terms of the numbers and richness. Aura Semiconductor that recently got funded by Walden has made the world’s lowest power and lowest footprint Bluetooth IP, Ineda Systems based out of BayArea and Hyderabad is making processors for Smart Watches and EmuPro an early stage startup is looking to be one of the pioneers for RISC-V opensource processors. AlphaICs.ai is developing DeepAlpha SoC for multimode learning especially swarm usage (Robots /Drones in emergency response, mines). Saankhya Labs has used its prowess with software defined radios (SDR) for TV Whitespace based radios for last mile connectivity. There are a couple of unique product and IP startups like Picosemi and Steradian Semiconductors.
About the India IoT Startup Directory
The compilation of these 470+ IoT startups came from multiple sources. It came from large corporates, accelerators, incubators , industry bodies like TiE and IESA, VCs and angel investors, startup investor connect platforms and from media. We thank all our partners for helping us compile the useful information and compile the list of IoT startups. The list is available at www.IotforIndia.org
 Nasscom IoT CoE,SINE-IIT Mumbai,IKP EDEN, Revvx, T-Hub, IOTBLR, Forge, Excubator
Future Posts and Contact
In future posts we will take a deeper dive into segments, funding status and interesting or very innovative startups. Do contact us with specific ideas and suggestions or specific requirements you might have for a better understanding of the IoT startup ecosystem in India.
For anything specific and a deeper and sector specific review of the IoT startup ecosystem please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or the authors below.
Arvind Tiwary Arvind_T@SangEnnovate.com https://in.linkedin.com/in/tiwaryarvind
Venkatesh Kumaran email@example.com https://in.linkedin.com/in/venkateshkumaran
Somshubhro (Som) Pal Choudhury firstname.lastname@example.org https://in.linkedin.com/in/somshubhro