Internet of (Moving) Things startup Veniam nabs $4.9 million in funding
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The company can turn all a city’s vehicles into WiFi hotspots

Despite all the advanced technology and cutting edge innovation out there, sometimes the basic things fail. Like your Internet connection.

A Portuguese-U.S. company called Veniam wants to change that by turning all municipal vehicles  into WiFi hotspots. As long as you live in a populated urban area, you should have very good Internet coverage, because the connected vehicles will form a mesh network.

Not a hot spot, a hot moving mesh-work of connectivity

This has already happened in Porto Portugal, where Veniam has already hooked up 600 vehicles to its special “NetRider” boxes, which both connect cars to each other and transmit data from the vehicles to the Internet. With just 600 connected vehicles, Internet coverage in the city is “ubiquitous and reliable” says the company.

According to the company, 73 percent of bus riders with mobile devices — 60,000 monthly – use Veniam’s free WiFi, and this offloads 50 percent of traffic from cellular networks in the busiest areas.

But aside from providing people on the street with Internet access, Veniam’s networks serve another purpose. They allow all kinds of objects equipped with sensors to connect to the Internet and transmit data to, say, municipal computers. For instance, smart trash cans can signal when they’re full. A networked garbage truck can know it’s time to stop and empty them.

Veniam announced on Tuesday that it had received $4.9 million in Series A funding led by True Ventures, with participation from Union Square Ventures, Cane Investments and private investors. The money will be used to expand the company’s Silicon Valley office and deploy its technology in U.S. cities. Their customers would be the cities themselves, who want to benefit from the free WiFi as well as all the data collected. Other customers would be airports, seaports and similar places that are poised to benefit from the Internet of Things.

“The interest in our technology has been overwhelming and we feel confident that large-scale vehicular networks, enabled by our proprietary technology, will be the foundation for a faster expansion of the Internet of Things in cities and industrial environments,” said João Barros, CEO and Founder of Veniam.

“Much has been said about the Internet of Things in the past decade, but we have seen little significant movement in the space,” said Om Malik, Partner at True Ventures. “Veniam’s technology will make it possible for cities to provide the bandwidth necessary for devices to connect to the Internet and each other.”

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Simona Weinglass

About Simona Weinglass


I’m an old-school journalist who recently decided to pivot into high-tech. I work in high-tech marketing as well as print and broadcast media covering politics, business culture and everything in between.

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