Local IoT Venture Capital Fund Proposed

By Sharon Henry

Calit2 Director, G.P Li explain IoT Go Venture Capital Fund

Irvine, June 22, 2016 — Calit2 Irvine Division Director G.P Li spoke with a group of tech startup and industry experts this week at Calit2 to discuss opportunities to fund, build and bring to market IoT (Internet of Things) solutions by creating an IoT Focus Leading Center in Orange County.

Li described the “IoT Go” project as a “unique investment in the IoT ecosystem,” and seeks to raise $20 million in partnership with investors to capitalize on UC Irvine’s educational resources and the local tech community’s innovation.

Taking the Lead in Innovation and IoT development

Calit2 has been conducting IoT research for over a decade and its building is equipped with a host of resources, including INRF, LEXI, FABWorks, Microsemi InnovationLab, Digital Visualization Lab, eHealth Collaboratory and CalPlug; the institute also has access to experts and equipment across the entire campus, Li said.

He believes Orange County is ideally positioned to take the lead in innovation and IoT development. The area is home to more than 700 IT and telecom firms, 300 medical device companies, 50 gaming companies and 22 car manufacturer design centers. Because these companies tend to “stick around,” he explained, it shows they value market success over merely developing an exit strategy.

Of the $1 billion of venture capital invested in Orange County startups in 2015, $636 million (63 percent) found its way to Irvine-based technology and medical companies.

Surprisingly, there is no IoT venture capital fund based in Orange County, Li said. IoT Go could change that. Partnerships with startups could bridge the gaps and reduce risks of getting new IoT products to market by utilizing UC Irvine’s educational resources and the diversity of the Orange County business landscape. “For sustainability, 80 percent of profits [will be] returned to investors while 20 percent are returned to IoT Go for fund replenishment,” he added.

Von Cameron, president of Practics, Inc. and co-host of the IoT Go Forum, described how the proposed center would operate as a hub to monetize ideas and solutions. “We do this in three ways,” he said. “Intake and pipeline development, foundation building and acceleration, and ecosystem exposure and go-to-market. IoT Go will be a hub for anybody who wants to have their plans polished and get to the market as quickly as possible,” he said.

Speakers at the IoT Go Forum included Daniel Walpole, managing partner of Verizon’s IoT Resale group; Eric Collins, chairman of Connected Holdings; Jim Hunter, chief scientist and technology evangelist of Greenwave systems; Alok Batra, co-founder and CEO of Atomiton, Inc.; Ted Myers, co-founder of Ingenu: Mehul Merchant, founder and CEO of UVA Mobile; Jay Jayakrishnan, UCI civil and environmental engineer; and Mark Bachman, co-founder and CEO of inXus Interactive.