Household items such as Amazon's Alexa and wirelessly connected boilers may be raising the profile of the Internet of Things (IoT), but private equity house Lyceum Capital has today banked £20m on a business which boosts wireless connectivity in utilities companies.
Wireless Innovation, whose customers include EDF Energy and Scottish Water, provides machine-to-machine (M2M) data connectivity by working with satellite and cellular providers across the world.
After the acquisition of Wireless Innovation, Lyceum will use the remainder of its £20m investment to build the business by bolting on smaller competitors.
“Given its growth and fragmentation, the M2M and IoT connectivity market represents an attractive investment opportunity,” said Lyceum's Simon Hitchcock.
According to Luke Kingston, a director in Lyceum’s origination team, the company is already in “active dialogue” with several potential target businesses.
Founded in 2004, Wireless Innovation has customers in more than 100 countries spanning the renewables, electricity, water, oil and gas, telematics, aviation and marine sectors.
The technology allows companies to securely manage, monitor and extract data from their networks. For a water company, for example, Wireless Innovation could allow data from a remote treatment facility where there is no mobile covereage to be transmistted via satellite. Wireless Innovation would then collate this data and present it to the client.
According to incoming chairman Edward Spurrier, as satellite technology improves the capabilities will expand to allow machines to alter their performance by interacting with one another.
Connectivity is becoming increasingly important for utilities businesses and service providers, as companies try to differentiate and get ahead of the crowd. Telecoms business Arqiva, for example, has taken to hiding miniature mobile masts in lampposts around London boroughs to boost mobile phone coverage.
To help Wireless Innovation with its own push forward, Spurrier, the former chief executive of Alternative Networks which was bought by telecoms business Daisy for £165m last year, will lead the acquisition strategy alongside Wireless Innovation's founder and chief executive Phil Rouse.