IoT Startup Samsara, Led By Meraki Founders, Raises $50M To Expand Channel Program, R&D
After raising $40 million from investors last summer, Internet of Things startup Samsara is adding another $50 million to its nest egg with a new funding round announced Thursday.
Kiren Sekar, vice president of product management and marketing at Samsara, told CRN that the San Francisco-based company would use the new capital to expand all aspects of its enterprise IoT platform business, including its channel program, sales and marketing, international expansion, and research and development. The company's headcount is expected to grow from 300 employees to more than 550 by the end of the year.
Samsara CEO Sanjit Biswas and CTO John Bicket previously founded Meraki, a cloud networking company that was acquired by Cisco in 2012 for $1.2 billion. Like Meraki, Samsara uses channel partners to help find new sales opportunities.
While Sekar declined to break out what percentage of sales come through the channel, he said the company's "channel business is growing very fast, and it's something we're very excited about continuing to invest in."
Sekar said the kind of partners Samsara works with are in IT, as well as transportation.
"In general, we found that a lot of partners are IT partners who are expanding into [operational technology] as IT and OT converge," he said. These IT partners, Sekar added, "are looking to Samsara and IoT as a way to extend their practices into operational parts of businesses that they might not have been working in as much, but this technology convergence is making their skill sets and what they offer extremely relevant to new parts of a customer's organization."
The new financing, which Samsara raised from return investors General Catalyst and Andreessen Horowitz, comes as the company has been adding customers and growing sales at an aggressive rate. According to a press release, the company has been increasing sales 250 percent annually while adding 1,700 transportation customers every quarter. Sekar said those companies range from SMB to enterprise in size.
With Samsara's enterprise IoT platform, the company aims to help companies improve the efficiency of their operations using real-time GPS tracking, wireless sensors, video, and mobile applications. While most of Samsara's customers are in transportation, the company also works in other industries where the tracking and analysis of physical operations can be beneficial, including construction and food and beverage.
"The business impact that our customers report – from lower operating costs to increased safety and customer service – has been resounding," Biswas said in a statement. "This new funding will allow us to accelerate our pace of innovation even further, and to scale our organization to support even more new customers."