Singapore-based internet-of-things (IoT) technology provider UnaBiz has raised $25m from top investors in Japan, Taiwan and Thailand in a Series B funding round.
UnaBiz said the funds will be used to strengthen its foothold in key markets such as Japan, Southeast Asia and Europe via local offices, as well as through mergers and acquisitions. It will also use the capital injection to drive the growth of its UnaConnect data platform that bridges the gap between IoT data collection technologies and enterprise systems.
The funding round was led by Tokyo-based Sparx Group, an independent investment company that manages more than $15bn worth of assets through its Mirai Creation Fund II, a $700m fund backed by the likes of Toyota and banking giant SMBC.
Sparx president and CEO Shuhei Abe noted that UnaBiz had made “tremendous progress” in the past year, delivering one of the largest smart gas metering projects in the region.
In 2019, UnaBiz deployed 850,000 IoT devices to convert traditional gas meters into smart meters for Japanese energy retailer Nicigas. Following the project, which helped Nicigas reduce its costs by 40%, the Tokyo metropolitan government decided to deploy smart water meters on a larger scale.
Commenting on the new funding round, Henri Bong, co-founder and CEO of UnaBiz, said the company was looking forward to growing its team and working with experts to champion a unified market for IoT systems, a market that has been fragmented with different technologies and providers.
Besides water and gas metering, UnaBiz has seen success in asset tracking, where its technology is used by Australia’s Konvoy Group to monitor 70,000 kegs across Australia and New Zealand. In Singapore, an educational institution is using UnaBiz’s technology for a facility management project.
With sustainability issues coming under the spotlight, UnaBiz will also use the Series B funding to develop new offerings, such as energy-optimised sensors and pattern detection using artificial intelligence.
“We see a transition in the demands of the IoT market from competitive drivers to carbon reduction commitments,” said Philippe Chiu, UnaBiz’s co-founder and chief technology officer. “On top of adopting sustainability reporting, responsible consumption and production practices, the new funds will be channeled to develop specific expertise and services that will help our customers reach their energy goals.”
Read more about IoT in APAC
- A new generation of farmers is tapping the internet of things and machine learning to operate self-sustaining urban farms with minimal supervision.
- India is set to be a cradle for IoT deployments thanks to its vibrant economy and its potential to play a bigger role in global manufacturing.
- More enterprises across APAC are using IoT to track fleet vehicles and improve operations, but technology integration and security concerns are still holding back widespread adoption.
- Bharat Petroleum has developed a digital nerve centre powered by IoT and AI technologies to monitor the journey of its products.
Taiwanese venture and private equity group CDIB Capital Growth Partners also took part in the funding round. Its president, William Ho, said UnaBiz has proved that its technology and vertical-agnostic approach to the market is the right one.
“We are pleased to share our deep industry expertise, and extensive local knowledge and network, to help them capitalise on cross-market opportunities in the Asia-Pacific region,” he added.
In Thailand, Top Ventures, the investment arm of Thai Oil Public Company, the country’s largest oil and gas company under the state-owned PTT Group, also threw its hat into the ring to bring existing massive-IoT solutions to the Thai market.
“We want to invest in emerging technologies and business models that are promising and would enhance and extend our existing energy business,” said Luck Saraya, managing director of Top Ventures.
The funding brings UnaBiz’s total capital raised to $35m, more than tripling the firm’s valuation since the last round.