By Daniel Mpala 18 October 2019
More than many other kinds of businesses, startups that develop hardware solutions arguably face more challenges bringing their solution to market.
The sheer amount of time and money spent on research and development of these solutions, and in some instances issues with regulation, are a few of the reasons it takes hardware products longer to launch than that of their software-only counterparts.
It goes without saying that establishing, raising funding and running such companies is no easy feat.
In light of this, Ventureburn has identified five SA hardware startups that have made waves this year.
We didn’t include Cape Town startup Yoco in the five, but the fintech is worth a mention. Last month it announced that with the launch of new point-of-sale device, it’s looking to double its customer base from 50 000 to 100 000 in the next year ahead of a further fundraising round (see this story from TechCentral).
Pretoria-based IoT.nxt focuses on delivering innovative IoT software and hardware solutions. The startup is led by CEO Nico Steyn (pictured above) who founded the company in 2015 with Terje Moen and Bertus Jacobs.
IoT.nxt’s open platform network enables users of the platform to carry out rapid software development and integration.
The startup is also partnering with tech giant Dell to develop an IoT-in-a-box solution using IoT.nxt’s Raptor Device.
In May, mobile network operator Vodacom acquired 51% of the startup for an undisclosed amount (see this story). The deal was approved by the Competition Commission in August (see this story).
In September last year the startup set up a US office in Dallas. This followed the opening of an office in The Hague, in the Netherlands in February last year and a partnership the startup secured with listed Dutch company ICT Group NV.
In September last year, the startup set up a US office in Dallas. This followed the opening of an office in The Hague, in the Netherlands in July 2017 and a partnership the startup secured with listed Dutch company ICT Group NV.
Previously the startup raised R120-million in two rounds — from Talent10, a Midrand-based asset management company which at the time of the Vodacom deal held a 30% stake in the startup.
About 70% of the startup’s revenue last year came from SA businesses based in 16 different verticals including the mining, banking, ports and telecommunication among others. The remainder came from US customers.
The startup has seen massive growth — at least if employee growth is anything to go by. The company has grown to about 150 employees, after having started in late 2015 with just five people, adding about 40 jobs since the end of last year.
IoT.nxt expects to double its staff numbers by the end of this year, mostly through new local hires.
Cape Town based smart solar geyser startup Plentify was founded in 2017 by Jon Kornik (pictured above).
Earlier this month the startup won the SA finals of the EDF Pulse Africa innovation contest (see this story).
Plentify has developed a solution which turns turns water heaters into grid-connected thermal batteries which intelligently “recharge” when electricity is abundant on the grid.
By doing so, Plentify improves reliability, decreasing reliance on dirty, expensive generation, which saves households more than 50% of their water heating costs.
The startup does this with an easy-to-install Internet of Things (IoT) controller, a user friendly mobile application and a cloud-based artificial intelligence (AI) engine which turns each water heater on or off, based on the needs of the user and the grid.
Plentify will now participate in the grand finale of the contest which will be held in Paris next month where it stands to receive grants ranging from €5000 to €15 000.
Read more: Ventureburn