Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

KLM leads investment round in Dutch IoT track-and-trace start-up Undagrid

Steve Rogerson
September 8, 2015
 
The Mainport Innovation Fund (MIF) has invested an undisclosed amount in the Dutch IoT start-up Undagrid to propel international growth and allow it to enter new markets. The MIF as an investment fund is a partnership between airline KLM , Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam, Rabobank and the Delft University of Technology.
 
Undagrid was named Sprout Startup of the Year 2014 and Best Internet of Things Startup by the European Institute of Innovation & Technology of the European Union.
 
Undagrid technology has been applied with GSETrack, a joint venture of Undagrid and SPS International. This track-and-trace system ensures that non-motorised objects or ones not connected to the power grid can be easily traced in an energy efficient manner. The application is used in places such as Schiphol Airport, where baggage carts and aircraft stairs are fitted with Undagrid network technology.
 
"Undagrid technology makes it possible to track non-motorised vehicles in real time, at low costs," said Erik Swelheim, managing director of KLM. “This ensures optimal use of the vehicles, so we also need less of them. Hence, it enables us to cut expenses considerably.”
 
The devices on the objects transmit information to nearby devices, which in turn relay this information to others in their vicinity. This is how ground equipment such as dollies, carts and staircases communicate their position to each other. An operator can check the location remotely via the cloud or a dashboard, which makes maintenance and equipment management, for example, more efficient and cost effective. Each device only needs one battery to keep the network operational for years at a time.
 
"Companies usually have multiple objects to manage, from big to small,” said Undagrid's CEO and co-founder Rolf van de Velde. “Up until now, if they had no power, there was almost no way for vital information about these objects to be shared, such as the location, temperature or their current status. If a situation like this occurs, it's always a matter of: where exactly are the objects now and/or what's the status of the objects? Undagrid technology ensures that objects, no matter what size, share useful information not only with each other but also with the people operating the objects."
 
The MIF invests in promising technology companies with innovations in the logistics, transport and aviation sectors. Undagrid is MIF's ninth investment. NBI Investors, MIF's funds manager, will be launching the MIF 2 successor fund in the near future.
 
"MIF's investment, along with that of our partners KLM, Schiphol Airport, TU Delft and Rabobank, positions Undagrid to achieve their international growth ambitions as the communications solution for airport logistics faster,” said Bram Ledeboer, investment manager MIF. “Not to mention, it helps them break into other markets outside of the aviation industry."