KINEXON, a Munich-based IoT company that develops hardware and software, has signed a €15 million venture debt loan from the European Investment Bank (EIB). The loan, which is supported by the European Fund for Strategic Investments, will be meted out in three chunks upon completion of some pre-defined milestones.
The financing will help the German startup expand in Europe, the US and Asia and also fuel product development, namely data analytics and artificial intelligence.
KINEXON’s technology — a mix of sensor networks, edge computing, real-time process automation and ultra-wide band technology — has a range of applications. Obvious ones include production and logistics, where the German startup can help with automation and robotics, but cases go beyond the usual industrial IoT examples.
The technology is also used in professional sports, and within this sector alone, it’s used in a variety of ways. KINEXON enables performance analytics, injury prevention and “next-generation” fan engagement. According to a press release, the company serves more than 100 sports teams and leagues worldwide, including over 75 percent of NBA teams in the US.
The pandemic has brought new applications, too. Just a few weeks after the first Covid-19 lockdown in Germany, the team released SafeZone, a contact tracing app that relies on sensors to uphold social distancing. Small, wearable sensors track the distance between two users and the length of time they’re near each other, and will warn them if they get too close. Though all data is anonymous and no health information is recorded, SafeZone could be used to trace contacts if someone is found to test positive.
“We are entering a period in which the internet of things is as common and as important as electricity or running water,” said Ambroise Fayolle, EIB Vice-President in charge of innovation, lending in Germany and EFSI. “Given how [KINEXON] seized the opportunity to make use of their knowledge and expertise during the Covid crisis, I am thrilled that we can bolster their creativity and vision with EIB financing.”
Oliver Trinchera, the startup’s co-founder and managing director, commented: “Over the past few years, the need for our solution has led to annual triple-digit growth With the EIB, we have found a partner that supports us in keeping that momentum up and even accelerating the digitalisation of the worlds of industry and sport.”
Photo: Founders Dr. Oliver Trinchera and Dr. Alexander Hüttenbrink