Breed Reply, the London-based Internet of Things (IoT) incubator run by Italian publicly listed Reply, has announced that it’s backed three new startups in the smart home, health and energy sectors: Cocoon, the UK smart home security startup; BrainControl, an Italian startup that has developed an assistive technology to let disabled people control a computer with brainwaves; and Netherlands’ Greeniant, which provides analytics for smart meters.
In total, this amounts to an investment of just over £2.4 million, though, curiously, Reply isn’t breaking out individual investments. The equity it’s taken in each respective startup is said to be between 20 and 70 per cent — so spanning the gamut of a minority stake to an unusually hefty majority share. This also presumably leaves the founders of whichever of the three startups sold a majority stake to Reply as minority shareholders.
However, according to sources, it isn’t Cocoon, who I’m told sold a minority stake to Breed Reply for “over $1 million” (approx. £656,000), so that just leaves BrainControl or Greeniant as potential exits. I’ll update this post should I hear more.
Noteworthy, Cocoon wasn’t already without funding, after it hit its Indiegogo crowdfunding target by a factor or two, raising over $215,000. The smart home security device uses infrasonic sound waves — sound below 20Hz, which is undetectable to the human ear — combined with machine learning, claiming to be able to monitor an entire home, including detecting intruders through closed doors and in rooms in the home other than the one where the Cocoon is situated.
That said, hardware is extremely costly to produce, while the step up from software alone to producing physical goods is sometimes a step too far for a burgeoning startup, so it’s unsurprising to see the Cocoon team lean on the expertise and resources of Reply.
In addition to funding, the strangely named Breed Reply IoT incubator provides a 12 month program including office space, support with strategy and business development (including market research, positioning, go-to-market and sales), technology (including access to a test lab), PR, and future fund raising.