Jesus Arias explains how the KNX Association’s KNX IoT Startup Incubator is growing and helping new companies to innovate quickly and cooperate with other KNX community members.
About two years ago, we started something new: the KNX Startup Incubator. Since then, the incubator has gained new partners, sponsors, service providers and, most importantly, new and exciting startups. Let’s review what we have achieved, how the incubator has grown, and then look at the challenges and opportunities ahead.
First and most importantly, we created a new type of role in our community – a very important one because startups are natural early adopters, innovate quickly, and validate ideas such as KNX IoT, to which our startups have been committed since day one. Indeed Simlab became the first company to develop a KNX IoT API Client, which works with the KNX IoT API Server from Schneider Electric. This is also proof that the ecosystem enables cooperation among our community members. More recently, another of our startups, namely Passiv Energie, became the first company, together with Siemens, to showcase a KNX IoT device. For this first development, the Passiv Energie team relied on the support of Cascoda, once again highlighting the healthy cooperation between our community members. The development, a decentralised heat recovery unit, was presented at the ISH show in March 2023 (check out the KNX IoT Devices brochure). It is also worth mentioning that our startup 11IoT, who took on the challenge of developing a KNX IoT router to enable communication between KNX and KNX IoT. They succeeded, and their KNX IoT Router was demonstrated at the Light + Building 2022 and ISE 2023 shows.
In order to introduce this community to the world, we have run two editions of the KNX Startup Forum with great guest speakers and presentations about what our startups have been doing. These forums took place at the IoTSWC 2023 show, which has now become our preferred show to run startup events. In the last edition, the KNX Association hosted the Startup Pavilion, where four of our startups, namely 11IoT, Can’nx, Simlab, and Solaregy enjoyed a free booth to showcase their solutions. We have also recently welcomed a new startup, namely Tenzinc, which specialises in ingesting and diagnosing client facilities data to actively reduce the need, frequency, and risk associated with onsite maintenance.
Our incubator, now known as the KNX IoT Startup Incubator, has grown in all directions. Startups are very attractive, and large companies want to be involved with them. There are also organisations that have been created with the sole purpose of assisting startups. In this growing ecosystem, we have gained a lot of traction. Our strategic partnership with RIoT is key to strengthening our links with the startup community. Our startups also benefit from RIoT’s expertise, such as the RIoT Accelerator Program.
Because resources are needed, we onboarded sponsors including Tapko Technologies GmbH, Guangzhou Video-star Intelligent Corp., Ltd, Weinzierl Engineering GmbH, Elsner Elektronik GmbH and HPE Aruba Instant On. We also count on service providers who offer special discounts and freebies to our startups. Among these, a big ‘thank you’ goes to Cascoda, Xyte, and Elimo. Lastly, we are working on more strategic partnerships to enhance our ecosystem and expand our presence. For this reason, we are thrilled to announce our cooperation with Silicon Catalyst, an experienced and successful startup ecosystem from the USA.
Challenges and opportunities
The startup industry has been shaken in the past few months due to the Silicon Bank crisis, and increasing interest rates are creating funding shortages. Startups need more support than ever before. Some claim that there is a bubble in the startup world, and it is challenging to identify the needle in the haystack. For this reason, we have enhanced our screening processes, keeping an eye on startups that specialise in AI and IoT hardware.
Despite the challenges, the future looks bright. KNX is a strong community with a healthy outlook and reliable values that investors look for in times of crisis. This provides a great opportunity for our startups to find an oasis in the middle of the storm. Startup enthusiasts can expect to see us at flagship events such as the IoTSWC 2024 and Light + Building 2024, as well as at a series of events where the KNX IoT Startup Incubator will be present, such as the IoT Tech Expo North America 2023 at the Santa Clara Convention Center, California, held on May 17-18.
Jesus Arias is responsible for Membership & Business Development, KNX Association.