PsiKick, the company devoted to wireless, batteryless IoT systems, reported that it changed its name to Everactive and closed a $30 million funding round. The funding round was led by Future Fund and joined by new investors ABB Technology Ventures, and Blue Bear Capital, along with existing investors New Enterprise Associates (NEA) and Osage University Partners. To date, the company has raised $63 million.
“Removing the need for batteries solves one of the key limitations of the IoT and represents a fundamental paradigm shift, allowing our customers to deploy wireless sensors at scale and gain access to new, high-value data-driven insights,” said Bob Nunn, CEO of Everactive. “Over the last 18 months Everactive has productized our ultra-low-power silicon technology and developed a compelling go-to-market strategy that is now driving rapid customer adoption. Everactive will use the proceeds from the new round to meet the growing customer demand for our existing and future products.”
According to Everactive, the implications of batteryless sensing are vast, enabling an explosion of connected data from the physical world that could dwarf today’s online data repositories, which are made up of primarily of user-generated, digitally native data (i.e., our collective web activity).
Everactive’s initial market is the industrial sector, where collecting and analyzing data on infrastructure and physical equipment can offer a profound and measurable impact, reducing downtime, cutting maintenance costs, enhancing safety and environmental impact, as well as boosting overall efficiency.
Grant Allen, Head of Technology Ventures at ABB, says, “We have long been aware of the value of wireless sensing for condition monitoring and predictive maintenance but, in many environments, the logistics and economics of battery-powered sensors have not made sense. Everactive opens up a range of possibilities for truly maintenance-free sensing at broad scale and ABB is excited to deepen our partnership and introduce Everactive’s monitoring solutions to our customers.”
In late 2018, Everactive launched its first product, Steam Trap Monitor (STM), which it created to continuously monitor the common industrial and district energy steam trap to determine whether or not the trap has failed so that maintenance workers can act to minimize costly energy waste and safety concerns.
Everactive says that its batteryless strategy for this multi-billion-dollar market has proven successful with customers.
Gary Binstock, Supply Chain Innovation Director at Colgate-Palmolive, noted that, “Everactive batteryless sensors are extremely promising and will certainly be important to our business. We’ve already thought up a number of use cases and will hopefully evaluate many more.”
Currently, in small-scale installations and deployments, the company’s latest products include a Machine Health Monitor that analyzes vibration on rotating equipment, including pumps, industrial motors, and fans. Everactive also offers a Flare System Monitor that reduces the length and costs of flaring events in refineries.
“The data insights derived from Everactive’s maintenance-free monitoring solutions will quantifiably improve companies’ asset optimization, operational efficiency, and environmental footprint throughout the energy sector,” explained Ernst Sack, Partner at Blue Bear Capital, a Houston- and Los Angeles-based investment firm focused on digital technologies within the global energy supply chain. “Moreover, the ability to extend Everactive’s technology to new products and markets was key to our investment thesis.”
According to Everactive investor and NEA Venture Partner, Greg Papadoupolous, “Everactive’s underlying technology is magical. They have innovated across the stack—from ultra-low-power chips and scalable networks to adaptive edge-to-cloud analytics that optimize energy usage—to make batteryless sensors a reality.”
Everactive says it can eliminate batteries with its underlying IC and wireless networking expertise. The company’s co-founders, Drs. Benton Calhoun and David Wentzloff, have been working on ultra-low-power electronics since their time together at MIT’s Electrical Engineering & Computer Science program.
In subsequent years, while serving as professors at the University of Virginia and University of Michigan, respectively, the two continued collaborating until several key proof points prompted them to spin the company out of the two research institutions.
In a proof of concept, they demonstrated the continuous operation of fully integrated circuits at down to 1/1,000th the power budget of commercially available chips, allowing them to power their devices entirely from low levels of harvested energy such as vibration, indoor light, and small temperature differentials.
In addition to its core chip technology, Everactive has not only built its own self-powered sensor devices, but also created all the networking, software, and cloud analytics to be able to provide insights to customers.
According to Nunn, “…New data streams are important only insofar as customers receive value; we’re trying to make that as easy as possible by not just generating new data streams, but also providing the answer to the ‘so what?’ question about that raw data.”