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Monday, Dec 4, 2023

Rancho Bernardo Startup Lands $30M in Funding from Amazon, Samsung

A Rancho Bernardo startup’s idea for tiny, sticker-sized sensors has caught the attention of two big investors.

Wiliot raised $30 million in a series B round led by Amazon Web Services’ Investment Arm, Samsung Venture Investment Corp. and adhesive manufacturing company Avery Dennison. The additional funding came just after the company finished successful tests of its product.

“Wiliot’s strategy for battery-free Bluetooth transponders, which sense and communicate without needing specific action by consumers, is very relevant to Avery Dennison’s intelligent label strategy,” Francisco Melo, vice president and general manager of global RFID for Avery Dennison, said in a news release. “We believe in a future where every item will have a unique digital identity and a digital life, benefiting both consumers and brands, with relevant and contextual information.”

To date, Wiliot has raised $50 million, including a $5 million series A round led by Qualcomm Ventures and M Ventures. It maintains its business development and marketing teams in the San Diego area, and hosts its research and development staff in Tel Aviv, Israel.

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Unlike other battery-powered Bluetooth beacons, Wiliot’s technology uses an ARM processor powered by energy harvested from radio waves. The tags can transmit information about a product, including its location, weight and temperature. The tiny chips work by communicating devices enabled by Bluetooth Low Energy, such as a smartphones or IoT devices, that can then connect to a WiFi or cellular network.

The company sees a multitude of uses for its tags: For example, they could be used to track consumer goods from manufacturing to the point of delivery to the customer, or to let shoppers read information about a product, such as a shirt, on their smartphone.

“We believe that disposable electronics based on battery-free, low-cost systems are the foundation for future IoT systems. We are on the edge of dramatically changing the way products are made, how they are distributed, where and when they are sold, and how they are used and recycled,” Wiliot CEO Tal Tamir said in a news relesase. “Without batteries or other high-cost components, tags have unlimited power and lifespan, so can be embedded inside of products that were previously unconnected to the Internet of Things.”


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