Nodle Gets $1.5M To Build Low-Cost IoT Network With Cryptocurrency


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Nodle, an Internet of Things startup, has raised a $1.5 million seed round to build out its low-cost, low-power IoT network and use its own cryptocurrency for future expansion.

The San-Francisco startup, which announced the funding recently, is among a number of companies, including Sigfox, that are trying to build out low-power IoT networks. The round was led by Blockchange Ventures, with participation from Bootstrap Labs, Olymp Capital, Work Play Ventures and Yeoman's Capital.

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Nodle's approach to IoT networks is unique in that it relies on smartphone apps running Nodle's software to act as nodes on the network, which collects data from nearby IoT devices using Bluetooth. App developers are compensated for the number of connections they facilitate as an incentive. Nodle is also working with telecommunications companies and consumer electronics manufacturers.

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Micha Benoliel, co-founder and CEO, said this means solution providers can use Nodle to help clients bring in a new source of revenue for apps they develop. Companies can also use Nodle's network for their own IoT devices, which costs in the tens of cents per device every day.

If the company's IoT solution includes a smartphone app, like a dockless bike-share program, for instance, the company can subsidize the costs of all or some of the connection by installing Nodle's software and protocol into the app.

The idea is to provide companies a cheaper and more energy-efficient way to connect their devices than other networks that charge more money and require more power per device.

"As the network expands, we're going to invite any partner in the industry to host nodes," Benoliel said.

In the future, Nodle plans to incentivize the expansion of its network through its own cryptocurrency, NODL, which companies will earn the same way they are currently compensated. Benoliel said there will eventually be a way for consumers to serve as a node on the network and earn NODL. Unlike other forms of cryptocurrency mining that consume large amounts of energy, mining NODL is expected to only use less than 1 percent of a smartphone's battery, according to the company.

"Cryptocurrency will be the mechanism for incentivizing the network," Benoliel said.

Benoliel said Nodle is adding 50,000 new smartphones to its network every day, and he expects the total number of connected smartphones to reach 12-15 million in the coming months. Among the network's early adopters are bike-sharing programs, consuming tracker manufacturers Orbit and Chipolo and the city of Paris, which is using the network to track 60,000 concrete benches (allowing city officials to see if a bench has been stolen or if they need to move benches depending on various needs).

“Few understand the massive opportunity for a ubiquitous, fail-tolerant and distributed IoT network that works for super small and low powered devices everywhere," Nicolai Wadstrom, CEO of Nodle investor BootstrapLabs, said in a statement. "The orchestration of a peer-to-peer IoT network will also be more effective and efficient with the implementation of applied AI. Nodle is in a blue ocean and ahead of the game here."