Achieving a $300M exit in five years

Relayr is a recently acquired start-up who evolved out of a vision to deliver business value by unlocking IoT capabilities within organisations.  From reducing the maintenance costs of large machines in manufacturing lines to improving the performance of professional soccer teams via microchipping their players and tracking their health and fitness, Relayr’s technology has applications in many fields.

This may seem like an advantage but early on, Relayr’s challenge was creating a unified vision and approach as to how and where to enter the market, Jackson Bond, Co-Founder, and Head of Product, chose to join Startup Bootcamp with the purposes of finding a niche where Relayr’s product could fit.

Simplifying the creation of new services and products and their integration into the “Internet of Things” 

Traditionally to implement an IoT business case, companies needed to perform challenging ETL processes by work first with hardware providers on the gateway side to unlock existing data on machines with retrofit kits, and then leverage a middleware company that synthesises the data to prepare it for end consumption (usually applications).  

Relayr believed they had an opportunity to help streamline this process by positioning themselves as a new, more effective middleware company that connects everything. The primary challenge with this approach was that Relayr’s product was an infrastructure B2B sale rather than an application B2B sale which makes the decision to buy on the client’s end more strategic than operational.

Much more than just another IIoT company

After speaking with multiple mentors on the Startupbootcamp program, Relayr identified two markets that were ripe for entry – manufacturing and smart cities. The use case in manufacturing was leveraging data for predictive maintenance programmes and for smart cities it was upgrading current building management systems. For manufacturing, they want to offer better service to their customers and see many competitors trying to sell them services – a high margin business. For smart cities, clients are primarily concerned with reducing operational expenses. 

To make themselves as relevant as possible, Relayr needed an industry-agnostic solution and platform that could interface with a variety of IoT hardware devices, translate the incoming raw data, synthesise it into a digestible format via APIs and communicate directly with end-user apps such as dashboards. They also required an infrastructure implementation team that could work directly with the client to seamlessly integrate their technology inside the client’s existing hardware and software.  

Easily build IoT applications to control any sensor on any device

Relayr had a working prototype solution that had all the necessary components required to interface with both the hardware layer and the applications layer. Their primary issue was getting initial interest. Developing the messaging, approach, and insight required was critical to the overall success.

Jackson knew that leveraging the programme to develop these skill sets would enable him to develop the tools and network to be successful, “we were very aggressive and very demanding of people’s time, in really exploiting the mentors.”

Munich Re acquires Relayr for $300 million

Relayr’s tenacity paid off.  Even before the Demo day which closes the program, Relayr had secured pre-seed funding and had a new Go-To-Market approach. The methodology and programme behind Rainmaking’s Startupbootcamp program provided the structure to encourage and allow the Relayr team get focused, aligned behind an integrated strategy, and taught all team members, who came from different backgrounds, how to work together as a lean startup. 

In 2019, and Munich Re has recently acquired them for $300 million. Jackson’s final comment was “any startup team that wants to go to market quickly should join an accelerator from Rainmaking and Startupbootcamp.”

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April 29, 2020

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