AKUA, an Internet of Things (IoT) innovator leading the data-driven transformation of the global supply chain, announced it has raised $3 million in Series Seed funding. The investment round was led by San Francisco-based Crosslink Capital, with additional contributions from London-based Talis Capital and the San Francisco based Enterprise Security Syndicate. AKUA's competitive momentum began with a highly successful evaluation under a U.S. Department of Homeland Security Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA), and with early adoption of AKUA's platform by numerous global companies in the agriculture, perishables, and high-value recyclables sectors.
"We're very excited about the funding round," said AKUA Founder and CEO, Neil Furukawa. "These investments will help us advance the development of our secure IoT gateway platform, create greater value for our customers, and accelerate the growth of our company logistics and supply chain market. We sell directly to the cargo owners where IoT sensors can improve their process efficiencies and greatly lower their losses and security risks."
AKUA's gateway platform uses a Data as a Service (DaaS) model that easily integrates into existing business process systems and data analytics platforms. AKUA sets itself apart from the competition by directly serving the interests of cargo owners, empowering them with direct, real-time information on the condition, location and progress of their time-sensitive, high-value products. Cargo owners have the flexibility of using either their own analytics and visibility platforms with AKUA data, or AKUA's cloud-based, user configurable dashboard and mobile application solution. AKUA's security features include end-to-end data encryption, and a patented, re-useable high security master gateway device that provides physical security of cargo containers.
The AKUA solution has already proven itself a money-saver in the time-sensitive agricultural sector. "AKUA successfully demonstrated how IoT devices can be utilized to improve the logistics efficiency and monitor the environmental conditions of our potato seed export shipments," said Parkinson Seed Farm owner, Dirk Parkinson. "With our initiative to increase exports, we will now be able to analyze the data in real time and make real-time logistics decisions prior to shipments arriving at their destinations."
Crosslink Capital's Partner, Matt Bigge commented, "We are excited about how a very experienced and industry savvy AKUA team is using leading edge technology to disrupt a huge market. Strong early customer traction coupled with a user-friendly solution enable a superior approach to logistics."
The market for cargo tracking is extensive; the global container fleet capacity is estimated at over 34.5 million TEU, with more than 400,000,000 containers passing through global ports annually. That means five to six million shipping containers are crossing the sea at any time. This provides a significant opportunity for advanced IoT security solutions for cargo owners. The AKUA solution is also multi-modal, not confined to maritime shipping, but one that follows the cargo as it moves to road or rail.
Vasile Foca, Co-Founder and Managing Partner of London-based VC firm Talis Capital, commented: "Within the vast IoT market, we identified a strong use-case for cargo tracking of high-value items, perishable goods and sensitive security goods by leveraging IoT. AKUA has highly advanced technology to provide much needed transparency and security for cargo owners, and we look forward to working with the team to realise the Company's strong potential."