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IoT companies attracting attention of VCs

The “Internet of Things” is suddenly everywhere and investors are taking notice.

Gartner forecasts that 4.9 billion connected things will be in use in 2015 – up 30% from 2014 – and will reach 25 billion connected objects by 2020.

Inc. reported that more than $1 billion flowed into 153 venture deals for companies creating products and services in the IoT space for 2013, according to CB Insights, a venture capital and angel investment research company. That’s compared with less than $1.4 billion over the previous five years combined.

Deals grew 11% compared to the full year 2012, and funding increased nearly 50%.

That number was expected to have climbed to $1.6 billion in 2014 as more devices got connected to the Internet.

Among the most active investors in the space are True Ventures, Andreessen Horowitz, Khosla Ventures, First Round Capital, Bessemer Venture Partners and Intel Capital.

On May 19, San Francisco-based Industrial Internet of Things company GoFactory announced it had raised $2 million in a seed round, largely funded by global technology investment firm Visionnaire Ventures.

GoFactory’s system analyzes data from connected assets in real time. The company said the analysis could help cell tower operators in alerting service companies of maintenance needs in real time and the system could actually invoke action – whether that involves deploying a technician or requesting a part.

“With this round of funding, we will expand our IIoT solutions to several industries that can benefit from real-time insight and response,” said Allan McNichol, CEO of GoFactory, in a prepared statement. “GoFactory is different from other IIoT technologies because rather than simply gathering data, we help drive intelligent action.”

On May 11, San Mateo, Calif.-based Mode unveiled its cloud-based IoT platform and announced a new $775,000 seed funding round, according to VentureBeat. Mode aims to serve as a virtual backend team for IoT companies. Through a cloud platform, it handles all backend services, such as user and device management and secure real-time access control. The new seed funding round is led by Metamorphic Ventures, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, and several angel investors in Silicon Valley.

In mid-April, Movidius, also based in San Mateo, announced it had raised a $40 million funding round led by Summit Bridge Capital – a collaboration between Atlantic Bridge Capital and WestSummit Capital.

New investors in the round included ARCH Venture Partners and Sunny Optical Technology Group, as well as early investors Atlantic Bridge Capital, AIB Seed Capital Fund, Capital-E, DFJ Esprit and Robert Bosch Venture Capital.

The company’s goal is to build the visual sensors for the IoT.

Movidius plans to use the money to move its research and development efforts forward, hire more engineers and improve its software tools.

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