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Ayla raises $39m in Series C financing

Steve Rogerson
June 30, 2016
 
Ayla Networks has raised $39m Series C funding to continue propelling its global IoT platform for manufacturers. The financing round comes from a broad group of global investors led by Ants Capital, a boutique investment bank and asset management company with headquarters in China and investment interests in China, North America and Europe.
 
“Our strategy at Ants Capital is to focus on the leading platforms in particular market segments and select winners,” said Yin Min, managing partner of Ants Capital. “The internet of things will be the next area where major winners will emerge, and we invested in Ayla because it has unmatched traction inside China and globally with leading manufacturers making IoT products. Ayla’s strategy and IoT platform is a clear fit with the direction of manufacturers worldwide.”
 
Money for the California-based company also came from 3Nod, an original design manufacturer of smart lifestyle products, as well as new investors Mitsui and Acorn Pacific. Existing Ayla investors Cisco Investments, Crosslink Capital, International Finance (IFC, a division of World Bank Group), Linear Venture, SAIF Partners, Oriza Ventures, SJF Ventures and Voyager Capital also reinvested.
 
“Ayla is fast becoming one of the leading IoT platforms for OEMs that are manufacturing and shipping IoT products globally,” said David Friedman, CEO and co-founder of Ayla Networks. “With IoT clouds operating in multiple regions worldwide, and with major customers continuing to expand their Ayla-powered IoT product lines, Ayla believes that the when of the IoT is right now, and that Ayla Networks is well positioned to help manufactures take advantage of a growing market for connected products.”
 
Ayla has become a leading IoT platform provider for manufacturers in many markets, including home appliances, residential and commercial HVAC systems, water heaters, water softeners, and home fire and safety products. During the past year, the company has announced new or expanded relationships with manufacturing customers that include Changhong, Dimplex, Fujitsu General, Hampton Brinks, Hunter Fan, Kidde, LockState, Ozner, TCL and United Technologies Electronic Controls.
 
Within one year, Ayla has more than doubled its employee headcount. To give its growing staff more room to work, the company recently moved its US headquarters to a new building in Santa Clara, with 3100 square metres of office space.
 
“We are at the threshold of a technology explosion that will see, in a few short years, each of us hosting several dozen connected devices in our homes and on our bodies, thanks to the IoT,” said Tom Kerber, director of research at Parks Associates. “But to get there, manufacturers of connected products need to navigate the complexities of the IoT. Both manufacturers and investors recognise the value of a secure, flexible, scalable and cost-effective IoT platform that meets the needs of today’s market, and that can continue to deliver value over the lifetime of a connected product."
 
Ayla has enhanced and added partner relationships, including an open cloud-to-cloud partnership with Zonoff, designed to simplify the effort currently involved in enabling smart home systems to enlarge their ecosystems of connected products; co-development of products for IoT manufacturers with Encycle (formerly Regen), a smart energy management company; cooperative development projects with Renesas Electronics; and the announcement that it is all-in with Amazon Web Services, which is the core cloud infrastructure powering Ayla’s IoT platform globally.
 
“The IoT market is like a rocket ship, and we’ve seen it gather speed rapidly in recent months,” said Friedman. “Manufacturers that a year ago simply wanted to build a connected product are now discovering the business transformation possible through harnessing the data generated by IoT products.”
 
Within the past year, Ayla expanded its IoT platform offerings by launching the Ayla Agile Mobile Application Platform (AMAP) to accelerate the development of mobile control of connected devices; introducing Ayla Insights, an IoT platform service that turns IoT connected-product data into actionable business intelligence for manufacturers; and adding mobile beacon technology, which automatically activates a connected product’s mobile app when a user’s smartphone is in proximity of a beacon-enabled connected product.
 
Ayla has now established IoT clouds in North America, China and Europe. In China – where Ayla is the only international IoT platform to have been granted a licence to serve as an Internet Content Provider (ICP) in the People’s Republic of China – the company has built out its platform to integrate and align with WeChat, including a single WeChat sign-in so users can control multiple smart home, smart health and other IoT lifestyle products from a single app.
 
In 2016, Ayla formally established its presence in Japan, with an office in Shin-Yokohama, a regional manager in place and plans to add a fourth Ayla IoT cloud service to support the broader Asia region, including Japan. The company also announced several key partnerships, including Macnica, its first rep firm in Japan, and Revsonic as its initial engineering services and ODM partner in Japan, as well as extensions to Japan of existing relationships with module manufacturer Murata, MCU provider Renesas, and customers including Fujitsu General and an unannounced leading Japanese manufacturer.
 
Earlier, Ayla opened and staffed a new office in Taiwan, with sales, business development and R&D personnel. It also expanded its operations in Shenzhen, better to serve China, where many large OEMs do their manufacturing.
 
“Ayla is becoming a trusted global IoT expert, and the Ayla Agile IoT platform is enabling manufacturers to turn their products into smart connected systems, transforming their businesses to compete in the game-changing world of connectivity,” said Friedman. “We are grateful to be part of this new era of connected products, and for the confidence our new and existing investors place in Ayla and in our strategies for continuing to help manufacturers embrace the IoT future.”