IoT Startup
Illustration: © IoT For All

The startup space has been an incubator for innovation throughout the history of computing, and IoT has been particularly reliant upon these early companies’ small, agile, hungry style. You can see how much is spent on IoT startup funding every year and how many are either acquired or scale-up. 

According to the recently released IoT Analytics IoT Startup Landscape 2021 report looking at more than 1200 startups in the industry, despite a downturn in venture funding because of COVID-19, IoT startup funding levels are already back to pre-COVID levels. The report said that about $372 million was contributed to IoT startup funding rounds in Q4 2020 alone. When the complete list was broken down to only look at companies founded between 2013 and 2015 and haven’t gone public yet (about 541), 37 percent reached what IoT Analytics calls a scale-up. This means they have hit at least two of the following requirements: more than $1 million in annual revenue, more than 50 employees, and series B funding. Finally, since the firm’s 2019 report, almost 50 of the startups have been acquired.

The latter proves that startups have a vital role in the growth of IoT as an industry and the innovations of products and services offered to markets. (Another excellent list of exciting and growing IoT startups is this one from the Exploding Topics blog.)

Recognizing the importance of the startup space in IoT and beyond, LG Electronics has launched a new annual global challenge competition, Mission for the Future, hosted by the company’s new Silicon Valley innovation center, LG NOVA

LG says that Mission for the Future will provide startups and entrepreneurs with a platform to showcase their innovative businesses, ideas, and concepts, and it’s no coincidence that every category is targeted for the competition steeped in IoT applications. The categories also promote sustainable living, eco-friendly products, and inclusive society, which aligns very well with desired outcomes in the best IoT initiatives. 

“The Mission for the Future challenge serves as LG NOVA’s first step towards outside-in innovation for LG, as it collaborates with innovators and startups all around the world to grow ideas and build businesses together,” said Dr. Sokwoo Rhee, SVP, Innovation at LG Electronics and head of LG NOVA. “Simply put, LG wants to create positive societal impact, and we believe that diverse perspectives can lead to better innovations for the broader global community. This means technologies for sustainable living, eco-friendly products, and an inclusive society overall. We will innovate to save lives, save the earth and create a better life for all.”  

The categories are:

  • Connected Health – Products providing consumers with a unique access and more control over their healthcare and fitness
  • Energizing Mobility New services or solutions helping scale the electric mobility sector
  • Smart Lifestyles – Technology that simplifies home tasks and increases accessibility and produces a connected home 
  • The Metaverse Unique approaches to gaming across VR, AR, and XR technology
  • Innovation for Impact An open track for ideas changing the world across accessibility and sustainability creating positive societal impact 

According to the recent announcement, applications are now open and will close on October 25. You can apply here. Selected startups will move on in phases, and the top 10 finalists will be chosen in June 2022. LG NOVA said it intends to reserve $20 million to support those finalists with investments, resources, and funding for concept development through LG’s global infrastructure and supply chain, planning to build joint businesses with LG.

The health of the startup space and its quick recovery from the COVID-driven downturn should provide a lot of hope for the future growth of IoT in general. I know it does for me, and the investment houses, too, by the look of it.