Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Australian LoRa start-up NNNCo raises $8m

Steve Rogerson
July 18, 2019



Australian LoRaWan operator National Narrowband Network Co (NNNCo) has raised $8m in investment from Indian energy and environment company Enzen Group.
 
The money will be used to extend NNNCo’s carrier-grade low-power wide area network, enhance its enterprise software platform, and expand into key vertical markets including energy, water, cities, logistics, mining, agriculture, property, and health and safety.
 
The Enzen Group is headquartered in India with projects in over 20 geographies and offices in seven countries, including an Australian head office in Adelaide with further presence in Victoria, New South Wales, Western Australia and Queensland.
 
NNNCo and Enzen Australia, which provides strategic advisory services with a focus on energy, water and cities, will work together on a range of market opportunities to meet industry demand for IoT-led digital transformation nationwide.
 
NNNCo has several large-scale IoT projects deployed or in planning with the city of Gold Coast, Gold Coast Water, Hunter Water, Newcastle City Council, Lake Macquarie Council and Goanna Ag. The company recently extended its network across the entire Gold Coast local government area.
 
NNNCo co-founder and CEO Rob Zagarella (pictured right) said the company was excited to work with Enzen Australia to solve larger problems for customers and deliver a deeper value proposition.
 
“IoT has reached a tipping point and is primed to deliver its promise of productivity improvements, enhanced efficiencies and more sustainable operations for businesses and entire industries,” Zagarella said. “We’re able to connect sensors to just about anything from water mains pipes to streetlights to irrigation pumps. But, more importantly, this investment and partnership with Enzen means we can now do that at scale, deliver useable data from infinite applications, and enable those data to be integrated into business operations for real-time optimisation.”
 
He said the partnership would let NNNCo tap into Enzen Australia’s expertise and credibility in key sectors such as energy, water and cities, as well as leveraging the global reach of Enzen.
 
“We believe there is a real opportunity for Australia to lead the world in the next wave of IoT digitisation and together with Enzen we will be at the forefront of that,” he said.
 
Enzen Australia CEO Dileep Viswanath (pictured left) said working with an IoT network and platform operator was a clear demonstration of the company’s commitment to scaling operations and creating digital jobs in Australia with the potential for exporting knowledge services.
 
“NNNCo has deep technical and network capability in IoT and has had strong traction with utilities and cities in Australia,” Viswanath said. “We see very clear advantages for our customers in leveraging these capabilities to provide a comprehensive end-to-end service. Our goal is to enable energy, water companies and cities in particular to make sustainable improvements to their efficiency and performance and together with NNNCo we will work with industry and government to accelerate that transformation.”
 
For the energy business, he said this partnership built on Enzen’s ability to integrate renewable energy and storage resources with controlling demand response, which would ultimately lower energy costs while increasing security. It also complements other investments such as Wellness Telecom that is focused on smart cities, smart street lighting and smart communities.
 
NNNCo was established in 2015 by co-founders Zagarella, formerly of Gridsense, General Electric and Grid Net in the USA, and industry veteran David Spence, former CEO of Ozemail and Unwired, ex chair of Vocus Communications, and current chairman of PayPal Australia. Spence will now become executive chair while ex-Vocus CFO Rick Correll will also take an executive director position.
 
The company received early seed capital from venture capital legend Roger Allen who went on to introduce series A investors to the company in 2016.
 
Ian Mcleod, Enzen’s director for smart energy and former CEO of Ergon Energy, and Rahul Choraria, Enzen group finance head, will join the NNNCo board.
 
NNNCo has gained strong traction in the IoT market since 2015 and built its technology-agnostic enterprise software platform, N2N-DL, from the ground up. NNNCo views the platform as key to its expansion plans.
 
“The N2N-DL platform is important to our growth because it enables customers to deploy IoT at scale to meet their specific data requirements, regardless of the device or network they use, and overcomes some of the major complexities that have been a barrier to IoT previously,” said Zagerella.
 
Viswanath added: “Ultimately this partnership will deliver substantive benefits through solutions that help enterprise and government to protect and sustain critical infrastructure, operate assets more efficiently, and enable growth and integration of renewables in an economically sustainable model.”