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  • Writer's pictureJumoke Akinwa

UnaBiz Raises US$25 Million in Series B Funding Led by SPARX Group

UnaBiz, Singapore-based massive Internet of Things (IoT) service provider, has raised over US$25 million in its Series B funding round led by SPARX Group. The round was oversubscribed, with participation from CDIB, G K Goh and Thaioil.

The fresh funds will be used to strengthen the scaleup’s foothold in strategic regions such as Japan, South-East Asia and EMEA via local offices and M&A operations, and to sustain the growth trajectory of UnaConnect, the company’s latest data platform offering that aims to bridge the glaring gap between fragmented IoT data collection technologies and enterprise systems.

“Our vision is to accelerate corporate digital transformation with optimised end-to-end solutions which include hardware, software and connectivity. We look forward to growing our team in each area and working with vertical experts to champion a unified Low-Power Wide-Area Network (LPWAN) world,” said Henri Bong, Co-Founder and CEO of UnaBiz. “The IoT industry has become too fragmented and it is our mission to simplify it and eradicate frictions to truly enable massive IoT, from 0G to 5G.”

In 2018, UnaBiz raised over USD10 million in its Series A funding round to establish itself as a recognised, tech-agnostic and delivery-focused IoT service provider. Leveraging Taiwan’s world-class solutions design, industrialisation and supply chain ecosystem, and Singapore’s innovation platform, the company made remarkable strides in 3 major industries; water and gas metering, asset tracking, and facilities management. Consequently, UnaBiz has been servicing Japan’s largest remote gas meter reading infrastructure, the largest autonomous tracked beer kegs fleet in Australia and New Zealand, and one of the most ambitious integrated facility management projects for an educational institution in Singapore.

“UnaBiz is focused on creating value for the ecosystem,” said Philippe Chiu, Co-Founder and CTO of UnaBiz. “We see a transition in the demands of the IoT market from competitive drivers to carbon reduction commitments. On top of adopting sustainability reporting, responsible consumption and production practices, the new funds will be channelled to develop specific expertise and services that will help our customers reach their energy goals. On top of energy-optimised sensors, pattern detection based on Artificial Intelligence is key in our new data-focused offerings,” he added.

SPARX Group, an independent investment company, based in Tokyo, Japan, that manages over US$15 billion worth of assets, led the round through the Mirai Creation Fund II, a US$700M fund backed by the likes of Toyota Motor Corporation and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation. SPARX Mirai Creation Funds aim to accelerate the pace of innovation by financing companies’ and projects’ development in technologies that will drive future growth. SPARX Group is listed on Tokyo Stock Exchange.

Shuhei Abe, President and CEO of SPARX Group said, “UnaBiz has made tremendous progress in the past year. We are impressed by its rapid and sustained growth, especially how it delivered one of the largest and fastest smart gas metering projects in the region, despite the COVID-19 pandemic. We look forward to partnering with this talented and dynamic team to meet the growing needs of a burgeoning IoT landscape.”

Global Brain, who led the previous round through KDDI Open Innovation Fund, and ENGIE Ventures, the investment arm of global energy and services leader, ENGIE, have reaffirmed their confidence in UnaBiz’s vision in its Series B round.

“UnaBiz has worked closely with KDDI subsidiary SORACOM Inc since its Series A funding. The duo’s collaboration has spurred in the smart metering space. With the new Japan office, we are certain that the team can expand its data services to new verticals and scale these new solutions to the global market,” Tatsuya Matsumoto, Director, Global Brain, the General Partner of KDDI Open Innovation Fund III.

“ENGIE has been working closely with UnaBiz to support the digitisation of its services. UnaBiz’s commitment to developing sustainable products and services for its partners is completely aligned with ENGIE’s ambition in accelerating the move towards carbon neutrality. We are excited to journey on to deploy at scale energy-efficient solutions in the region,” Thomas Baudlot, CEO Energy Solutions APAC and Country Manager ENGIE South East Asia.

CDIB Capital Growth Partners, a fund managed by CDIB Capital Group, Taiwan’s leading venture and private equity firm, also participated in the round. CDIB Capital Group is one of the largest and longest-standing merchant banking groups in Asia, with approximately US$2.5 billion in assets.

William Ho, President of CDIB Capital Group, commented: “UnaBiz has made impressive progress in the Asia market and has achieved compelling growth in the region over the last 18 months despite the pandemic. The team has proven that its tech and vertical-agnostic approach to the market is the right one. We are pleased to share our deep industry expertise, and extensive local knowledge and network to help them capitalise on cross-market opportunities in the Asia-Pacific region.”

G. K. Goh Holdings, a Singapore-based investment company owning operating businesses as well as a diverse investment portfolio of listed equities, unlisted equities and third-party managed funds, also participated in the round.

“UnaBiz has built an impressive track record of innovation, international expansion and customer satisfaction. Its customised massive IoT solutions have been deployed at scale by major clients in the Asia-Pacific region. Even during the pandemic, the team successfully won contracts in new industry verticals and expanded its geographical footprint. We are pleased to join new and existing shareholders to support UnaBiz’s next phase of growth as it scales its business across the Asia-Pacific and beyond,” said Goh Yew Lin, Managing Director, G. K. Goh Holdings.

TOP Ventures, the investment arm of Thai Oil Public Company Limited (TOP), Thailand’s largest Oil & Gas company under the PTT Group, followed the round to bring existing massive-IoT solutions developed by UnaBiz to the Thai market.

“We want to invest in emerging technologies and business models that are promising and would enhance and extend our existing energy business. UnaBiz fits into all 3 key areas of our focus: Industrial Technology, Sustainability Technology, New Mobility and Energy Technology. We look forward to working with the team to co-create custom solutions for the industry at large,” said Luck Saraya, Managing Director of TOP Ventures.

The latest fundraising comes three months after UnaBiz announced its new Japan office through Invest Tokyo, a programme initiated by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government and supported by Japan External Trade Organisation. Subsequently, the company made Forbes Asia 100 to Watch and was accredited by the Infocomm Media Development Authority of Singapore (IMDA), under Accreditation@SG Digital, an elite programme that helps Singapore-based technology companies accelerate their growth and compete globally.

“With this latest injection of funding, we believe it will help UnaBiz to continue to innovate and further build on its industry-leading IoT capabilities. We look forward to working with them to accelerate data-driven business efficiency in both the Government and enterprise sector”, said Edwin Low, Director, Innovation & Tech Ecosystem of IMDA.

UnaBiz was recently selected for an accelerator programme in Japan under the Global Innovation Alliance, an initiative of Enterprise Singapore and Singapore Economic Development Board, run by Leave a Nest Singapore.

The funding brings UnaBiz’ total capital raised to US$35 million since it launched in July 2016, and has more than tripled the firm’s valuation since the last round.

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