Will Ferguson and Mark Bannon, co-founders of VT Networks
In our Ones to Watch section, we highlight some of the top movers and shakers in Ireland. This week we feature IoT network VT Networks.
What is it?
VT Networks operates Ireland’s only nationwide Internet of Things (IoT) network. VT’s IoT technology, called Sigfox, is optimised for low-power affordable sensors.
This means that companies can engage with their physical assets, teams or operations in ways that were previously cost-prohibitive.
How is it funded?
In January 2016, founders Mark Bannon and Will Ferguson raised €1.2m from investors Colm Lyon, Patrick Joy, Dara Kelly and Dara O’Mahony. In addition to this funding the company has a sweat equity deal with 2rn, which means that VT Networks is partly state-owned. In return for shares in VT, 2rn maintains the network and provides access to its broadcast infrastructure.
Who’s behind it?
When the company was founded by Mark Bannon in 2014, its focus was on IoT product development.
However, it became apparent that building the networks that connect these objects, rather than the devices themselves, was the most exciting opportunity.
Later that year he teamed up with Will Ferguson and together they secured the operator licence for Sigfox.
In 2015 they won ‘Best Startup’ as part of Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur competition. Sigfox technology is currently used in 28 countries.
VT wants to expand its network capabilities, replicating what has been done here in Ireland by becoming an operator in multiple territories.
The IoT ecosystem in Ireland is rapidly developing, and VT is helping to accelerate this process through a variety of programmes that target startups, university students, makers and developers. They also provide support for Irish companies to become distributors and channel partners for Sigfox-enabled products and services. Beyond the Sigfox network, VT has a wholly owned subsidiary that is dedicated to IoT research and development, as well as distribution of products. VT plans to expand their distribution network into the UK in 2017.
Business & Finance, Ones to Watch
Business & Finance, in association with Comtrade Digital Services, recognises Ireland’s most dynamic emerging businesses in ‘Ones to Watch’.
Ireland is alive with a vibrant start-up scene and the entrepreneurs featured are shaping the country’s economic landscape.