Filament Raises $5 Million Series A to Build a Secure Foundation for the Industrial Internet

Filament leverages blockchain technology for a decentralized Internet of Things

Aug 18, 2015, 07:30 ET from Filament

RENO, Nev., Aug. 18, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Filament, an enterprise technology company that creates smart industrial infrastructure by connecting existing machinery, equipment, and assets to a wireless sensor network, announced today that it has closed $5 million in funding led by Bullpen Capital. Joining the Series A round are Verizon Ventures, Crosslink Capital, Samsung Ventures, Digital Currency Group, Haystack, Working Lab Capital, Techstars, and existing investors. As the industrial internet continues to proliferate, companies rely on machine-to-machine communications to gather and analyze data from physical objects. Filament is developing new blockchain technologies that will allow businesses to easily deploy and operate standalone sensor networks with existing infrastructure, in any environment, with or without the cloud.

From controlling the outdoor lighting of an entire city to monitoring grain silos or soil conditions across farms, Filament gives industrial companies a secure, large-scale distributed wireless sensor infrastructure using long range low power radios. Filament's networks include hardware devices called "Taps," which have embedded environmental sensors, USB and GPIO for expanded sensor or machine control, and are equipped with hardware cryptographic chips for secure accessibility and communication. Built on a decentralized software stack based on the blockchain, Filament allows companies to easily tap and consolidate disparate data without the requirement of a cloud or a central authority management device.

"We are very excited about Filament, as it is building essential parts of the future Internet of Things ecosystem," said Duncan Davidson, partner at Bullpen Capital. "Their vision goes well beyond the idea that IoT is just more connected devices building a scalable architecture. It's about connecting trillions of things in a secure and trusted way, without crushing the networks."

Filament is proposing that the pervasive coupling of the digital and physical world through sensors and actuators is a new form of raw economic value creation. "We envision a decentralized system where billions of devices – each independently interacting and transacting value with each other – will create a massive opportunity for new business models," said Eric Jennings, co-founder and CEO of Filament.

Filament's platform is built on the blockchain (for transactions) by leveraging open protocols such as Telehash (private communication), JOSE (smart contracting), TMesh (mesh networking), and BitTorrent (over the air firmware and management updates). By building a distributed platform on the blockchain, Filament devices are able to independently process payments and enforce smart contracts to ensure digital trust. These networks can also enable companies to capture raw economic value generated by sensors and actuators.

With the power of embedded computing reaching beyond wearables and home automation, the "smart" prefix is finding its way to other industries. "Smart factories, smart farming, and smart cities are the next frontier – all with the promise of greater efficiency, automation, and intelligence," said Ed Ruth, director at Verizon Ventures. "I look forward to working with Filament to explore the myriad of possibilities their new technology has opened up."

Filament's key benefits include:

  • All devices provide secure storage and communication with dedicated cryptographic hardware and work on an open platform Filament has termed Distributed Sensor Transactions (DIST).
  • In addition to Taps, Filament also offers a surface-mount module called the Patch that can be embedded in custom hardware. Objects with a Tap or Patch can connect over long distances (up to 10 miles) without existing WiFi, wired, or cellular connection; making industrial-scale networks easy to deploy and manage from a single interface.
  • Businesses can use Filament to create recurring revenue streams with physical devices, by authorizing access to their infrastructure and data over blockchain. 

An alumnus of the R/GA Accelerator powered by Techstars, Filament grew from Pinocc.io, a connectivity module designed to let users build and link projects to each other and to the web. Filament's team, now led by Jennings and CTO Jeremie Miller, will focus on providing the same out-of-the-box connectivity for industrial use cases like asset tracking and remote monitoring. With a pilot program already launched, Filament looks forward to growing the team with specialized expertise, and expanding into larger OEM deals with key partners. 

"I have been impressed by Filament's industrial IoT traction since their involvement in the R/GA Accelerator program," said Patrick Chang, Strategic Investments, Samsung Global Innovation Center. "The Samsung team is excited to support Filament's progress of leveraging the secure blockchain technology to build a decentralized IoT future."

"The Internet of Things could be one of the largest and most exciting verticals for blockchain technology in the coming years," said Ryan Selkis, Director of Investments at Digital Currency Group. "Rather than operating on expensive and siloed legacy infrastructure, we believe connected devices will only realize their full potential if they operate on a secure, distributed, and interoperable network like the blockchain's. We are thrilled to invest in Filament and help the team implement their vision of decentralizing the Internet of Things."

About Filament
Filament is an industrial network provider focused on Internet of Things (IoT) applications by providing long-range wireless sensor networks secured by blockchain technology. Using their decentralized IoT stack, any device can discover, connect, interact, and transact value without central authority requirement. Filament's offering includes its authored distributed peer-to-peer protocol Telehash; a successor to XMPP instant messaging protocol, which more than 1 billion people use daily. The company is based out of Reno, Denver, and San Francisco. For more information, please visit: http://filament.com/.

 

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