Over the past year London design shop Berg has been transitioning from a design consultancy and product maker (the folks behind Little Printer) into a proper tech company. On Monday Berg finally got there: the company officially announced the availability of its Berg Cloud, a connected devices platform, as well as that Berg has raised $1.3 million from investors like Index Ventures, Connect Ventures and Initial Capital.
Think of Berg Cloud like AWS for connected devices (or the Internet of Things, as many call it). Companies can use Berg Cloud (launching October 31) as the platform as a service for any type of device that is, or is becoming, connected, from white goods to cuckoo clocks. It’s essentially the connectivity layer that Berg developed for its quirky Little Printer device, but now it will soon be available for third parties. Berg also sells connectivity hardware kits to help get its customer’s devices up and running.
As Stacey Higginbotham has written, there’s a lot of companies that are offering connectivity for Internet of Things (to name a handful: Spark Devices, Ayla Networks, Carriots, Xively, ThingWorx, Axeda and Arrayent). But Berg’s CEO Matt Webb told me back in an interview this Summer, that he thinks that since Berg has a background in creating connected devices like Little Printer, it will enable them to craft and sell a product that is more attractive to the connected device makers.
Berg will also likely continue to experiment with creating connected device projects to show just what connectivity can do for various devices and industries. For example, one of its recent projects was making connected cuckoo clocks for Twitter. But it likely won’t sell those types of connected device projects commercially, it’s just using them as a way to help spark the imaginations of the creators (but never say never).
Berg’s fund raising is another example of London’s growing startup ecosystem around connected hardware. I spent time with these interesting folks this Summer in Shoreditch, in East London. Young companies are being inspired by Raspberry Pi and other local home grown technologies to build new companies and launch new ideas.
We’ll be highlighting the role of design for connected devices at our Roadmap conference on November 5 and 6 in San Francisco. Speakers will include thought leaders like Ammunition Partner Robert Brunner and we’ll be showing off connected devices in our Product Lab, like the Tikker watch, the Square Stand and others (learn more about the Product Lab here).