Pepper, the IoT platform and service provider, today announced a Series B investment round of $8.5 million from Leawood Ventures, the KCRise Fund, and Royal Street Ventures, joining current investors OpenAir Equity Partners and Comporium Communications. Additionally, Pepper has launched its Pepper IoT operating system, powering a new generation of IoT and connected home services.
The Series B financing will support the launch of several consumer IoT products to include the Pepper IoT OS launching through global mass market channels in the coming months. Pepper continues its close partnership with world-class design firm argodesign, the product design consultancy and growth partner to entrepreneurs, which has been instrumental in the strategy and design of the Pepper platform.
“It’s exciting to have an elite team of investors as well as our world-class design partner argodesign on board to help make our vision a reality,” said Scott Ford, chief executive officer of Pepper. “Our goal is to put the user experience at the center of the Internet of Things. With dozens of connected devices invading each of our lives, we need a way to manage our connected lifestyles in a way that’s easy—but also takes advantage of the interoperability across IoT devices and services. We work with large, global enterprises to develop human-centered IoT experiences—from use cases that involve single devices to complex, holistic solutions like home automation and security.”
With the unveiling of the new Pepper brand and platform, the company will serve the IoT and connected home markets in two ways:
Pepper Enterprise partners are big companies like insurance carriers, utilities, telecom providers who want to develop services that incorporate strategic IoT and connected home solutions. For example, utilities might want to introduce energy management tools (thermostat, lighting controls, etc.) in a custom branded app that also provides information from the smart meter and other systems. If they choose to do so, these utilities can offer many more features to include whole home automation and monitored security. Pepper Enterprise capabilities offer the flexibility and customization to allow its partners to create solutions that bring value to their core business—at a fraction of the cost and time to build or otherwise outsource.
Powered by Pepper
Powered by Pepper partners desire to leverage IoT technologies to grow their business but want to avoid the overhead of software development sourcing, operations, and maintenance. A manufacturer of window blinds is likely to be interested in developing smart blinds that offer controls to enable time-of-day, temperature, or smartphone-based open/close commands. That manufacturer can use the Powered by Pepper platform to offer an application that brings a state-of-the-art user experience at a fraction of the time and cost of other options. Additionally, the Powered by Pepper platform allows partners to rapidly onboard new devices they manufacture and/or introduce third party devices and services into the experience as well.
“The Pepper team has developed an innovative way to provide a customizable interface in a simplified IoT platform,” said Karl Gemperli, managing partner of Leawood Ventures and former CEO of global industrial IoT firm Elecsys Corp. “We are excited to partner with Pepper to launch their platform, which provides the best-in-class customer experience solution for a wide variety of IoT use cases.”
“Kansas City is fortunate that the Pepper team has chosen our region to grow its IoT technology which will change the way we harness information to improve our lives,” said Darcy Howe, managing director of the KCRise Fund. “Pepper is yet another great example of the diverse innovation happening in KC. KCRise Fund is delighted to be among its investors.”
The maturing IoT market shows strong demand for a ready-made platform across industry verticals—from energy firms, to telecoms, to consumer tech firms, and OEMs. As referenced by Intel, IDC, and the United Nations, “Our IoT world is growing at a breathtaking pace, from 2 billion objects in 2006 to a projected 200 billion by 2020.1 That will be around 26 smart objects for every human being on earth.”
Bain predicts that by 2020 total revenue of IoT hardware and software vendors will exceed USD 470 billion. Pepper is well positioned to respond with its early market experience, the strategic flexibility of its IoT platform, and its tile-based interface, which is easily customized to the needs of individual brands.
“Pepper is a platform for our partners to build great IoT products and services in the same way that iOS and Android enable a world of complex mobile solutions and in-demand content,” said Mark Rolston, founder of argodesign and chief creative officer of Pepper. “First and foremost, we designed Pepper around a beautiful and flexible user experience, because we want people to feel that their ‘Powered by Pepper’ products fit seamlessly and intuitively into their lives. It’s how technology should be, and we’re confident it will keep our customers coming back for more.”
Pepper is an IoT operating system and service delivery platform that empowers enterprises to deploy sophisticated IoT solutions. The introduction of billions of new connected devices (and other “things”) requires a new user-experience paradigm – one that enables both consumers and enterprises the ability to effectively manage, control, and engage with their increasingly connected worlds. Pepper solves the problems associated with this increased complexity through the combination of user operating system and service delivery platform. You can learn more about how the world-class user experience of the Pepper Operating System, and the extensible architecture of the Pepper Service Delivery Platform at our website www.pepper.me
argodesign is a product design consultancy that serves as a growth partner to entrepreneurs and an incubator of new products and experiences. Our team of experienced designers, expert technologists, strategic thinkers, and passionate makers responds to the changing design landscape with new ideas — not only in the work itself, but in how we engage our customers. As designers and as a business, we value doing something worthwhile, and deeper relationships with our clients enable that vision.