IoT Startup Samsara, Led By Meraki Founders, Focuses On Channel After A $40M Funding Round

Internet of Things startup Samsara, which is led by the founders of Cisco's Meraki business, announced on Wednesday that it had secured $40 million in a Series C funding round.

Kiren Sekar, vice president of product management and marketing at Samsara, told CRN that the company hopes to use the funding in part to double down on its channel strategy, as well as accelerate growth and research and development investments.

"This funding is really about enabling us to make investments in the long term and grow our company at a fast rate," he said. "We're using this funding to invest in research and development to bring our technology to new applications, as well as investing in sales and marketing – including programs for our channel partners and the teams working with our channel partners."

[Related: Cisco Partners Take Notice As Meraki Founders Launch IoT Startup]

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Samsara was founded by CEO Sanjit Biswas and CTO John Bicket, who previously founded and led Meraki – a successful cloud networking company that was acquired by Cisco in 2012 for $1.2 billion.

The San Francisco, Calif.-based company in 2015 released its Internet-connected sensor solution, which includes wireless gateways that transmit data to software in the cloud for industrial customers. This software-centric solution takes data from sensors, encrypts and secures that data, and sends it to the cloud, where the company's cloud service aggregates and analyzes the data for business value.

The company has customized and deployed this solution to help improve safety, efficiency, compliance and end-user satisfaction for customers from an array of vertical markets, including transportation, industrial operations, utilities, and warehouses.

For instance, Samsara offers various IoT solutions for the $8 billion vehicle telematics market, including the Samsara VG34, a gateway purpose-built for transportation, as well as connected dash cams and GPS fleet tracking applications.

With its recent funding round, which was led by General Catalyst with participation from existing investor Andreessen Horowitz and Samsara's founders, Samsara said it can now focus on long-term growth both for its platform and its company – including expanding its headcount from 100 employees to 200 by the year's end.

"Thanks to our faster-than-market sales growth, we didn't need additional outside funding for day to day operations," said Samara's co-founder and CEO Biswas in a statement. "But we believe that Samsara's approach to IoT can have a broad impact across large markets. We've already seen the technology benefit customers ranging from vehicle fleet operators to water utilities to energy producers. This new financing lets us invest in long-term technology development to explore new applications for our platform."

The company launched its channel in early 2016, and since then has grown the program to include many resellers and system integrators both on the IT and operational technology side.

"We have a number of very active partners," said Sekar. "Some of them are partners who we know well from our time at Cisco. Meraki's channel was a huge aspect of its success, and we have really great relationships with the channel after our experience there."

Sekar said that Samsara's IoT solution is particularly beneficial to partners because the end-to-end platform means that they can focus on business value for customers instead of getting caught up in configuration and integration.

"The simplicity and ease of use of the product has been an asset for the partners, and it allows them to get out and show value for customers," he said. "The other aspect that has been really attractive is the fact that it’s a complete system that they can offer, instead of having to bring in different vendors."

Samsara had raised $40 million in two earlier rounds led by Andreessen Horowitz, bringing the company's total capital raised to $80 million.