John Chambers Helps Fuel $13.6M Round For IIoT Startup IoTium

John Chambers' venture capital firm is among the new investors in industrial Internet of Things startup IoTium, which announced the closing of a $13.6 million Series B round on Wednesday.

"Land and expand" is the major impetus behind this round, IoTium CEO Ron Victor told CRN, and channel partners are expected to play a role in the company’s international expansion within four verticals where the company has found significant traction: oil and gas, manufacturing, power and utilities, and building automation.

"We want to work with about three partners within each of these verticals," Victor said.

[Related: Crestron Partners Using IoT To Drive Office Design Decisions]

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The Santa Clara, Calif.-based company's round of financing, which brings total funding to $22 million, was led by returning investor March Capital Partners. Besides JC2 Ventures, the VC firm run by Chambers, the other new investors were Honeywell Ventures and Hanna Ventures. GE Ventures, Juniper Ventures, former Cisco executive Pankaj Patel and other previous investors also returned for the round.

Chambers, who stepped down as Cisco's CEO in 2015, started JC2 Ventures at the beginning of this year using his own funds for investments in IoT, security and digital communications, among other areas.

"IoTium is driving innovation with its easily deployable technology for industrial markets where reliability and security are mission-critical," Chambers said in a statement.

With its software-defined converged infrastructure solutions, which will get a boost in research and development from the new funding, IoTium aims to mitigate the security and complexity issues that can slow down and harm industrial IoT deployments. Victor said IoTium's solutions are unlike anything on the market because they combine security, networking and edge computing in one platform.

"We combine the router, network switch, firewall, VPN concentrator and hypervisor, and it runs on commodity hardware that can be managed from the cloud," Victor said.

IoTium is currently working with four to five partners, including Yorkland Controls, Victor said, and he expects that to ramp up in the next 12 months with the goal of channel-based revenue reaching 20 to 30 percent by next year. By 2020, he hopes it will reach 50 percent.

Victor said he's interested in working with partners that have already identified pain points with customers and not those who will take their time to figure out whether IoTium will be useful.

"I want somebody who has a problem now," he said.