How we provide value as a strategic investor
Since we began our operations in 2015, we have participated in 16 direct investment and seven fund investment across Europe, Israel and the United States. Besides access to capital, we provide strategic value — something that has proven to be fruitful for our portfolio companies and us. However, what do we precisely considered to be of strategic value? In this article, we want to demonstrate what impact we have on our portfolio companies and demystify what it means to be a strategic value-added investor. In that respect, we want to highlight some cooperations that have been built between KPN and our portfolio companies: Actility, EclecticIQ, Sensara, Viloc, ZecOps and Cloudify.
In 2015, we invested alongside other investors, such as IDinvest, Ginko Ventures, Orange Digital Ventures and Swisscom Ventures in Actility, a leading IoT company based in France. KPN became a launching customer, purchasing Actility’s LoRA gateways and network management software and working closely together to test and optimize the network equipment. Based on Actility’s technology, KPN launched the world’s first nationwide LoRA-based IoT network in 2016. This provided KPN with a leading position in the LPWAN IoT business, onboarding hundreds of business customers, and connecting hundreds of thousands of IOT devices to our network and a great reference case for Actility supporting their international growth.
EclecticIQ is a Dutch company based in Amsterdam offering cyber threat intelligence technology solutions on a global scale. We participated in EclecticIQ’s Series A investment round in 2016, together with Dutch investor INKEF. KPN’s Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) who is in charge of monitoring and securing KPNs IT infrastructure– became a launching customer of EclecticIQ “Threat Intelligence Platform”. This allowed KPN’s security analysts to do their work more effectively and avoiding in-house development cost of building proprietary software tooling. As early customers, they also provided valuable feedback to EclecticIQ on the functionality of the platform and the development roadmap.
Sensara is a Dutch-based smart monitoring solution for elderly persons to make them and their family feel safe and alert caretakers in case something’s not right. We participated in their investment round in 2017 together with Van Herk Ventures. From the very first moment, we connected Sensara with KPN Health. Together, they signed a distribution agreement for its elderly care monitoring & alert solution, selling the solution in the B2B segment to homecare and elderly care organizations in the Netherlands. Also, KPN launched a white-label version of Sensara’ B2C proposition as KPN “Vitaal” selling this directly to consumers and via municipalities. Ultimately, the partnership enabled Sensara to reach customers faster and enabled KPN to expand its product range in digital healthcare services.
ZecOps is a Cybersecurity company founded by the serial entrepreneur and founder of Zimperium, Zuk Avraham. We invested in The San Francisco based company in 2018. During 2019, a commercial agreement was established with KPN Security Services as a distribution partner for ZecOps’ automated breach analysis forensic solution. This provided a valuable addition to KPNs product range, strengthening its security services product portfolio. Furthermore, the solution enabled KPN Security Services to expand its relationship with customers in the Dutch market. KPN provided ZecOps with a strong distribution channel and international network of clients, and in return, ZecOps provided KPN customers with the latest cutting-edge technology.
“Collaborating with KPN Ventures was one of the best decisions we did when starting ZecOps. KPN Ventures have been a tremendous partner to ZecOps. From just being there to support us all the way to full partnership, I highly recommend anyone to work with KPN Ventures”
- Zuk Avraham, CEO ZecOps
Viloc is a Belgium based company that has developed a long-range, low-energy location tracking device, based on LoRa technology, initially used for localization of construction tools. We invested in the company in 2016, and it soon became a launching customer of KPN’s new LoRa-based nationwide IOT network, and together they performed multiple tests on the network performance. Viloc also provided valuable feedback to KPN for the improvement of its LoRa network configuration and geolocation service. KPN IoT signed a reseller agreement with Viloc for its LoRa based tracking device. Currently, KPN IoT is actively selling the localization device to KPN customers across industry sectors. The partnership with Viloc gave KPN a valuable addition to its LoRa proposition, strengthening its product portfolio and improved the value and yield of its LoRa network. Reinforcing this flourishing collaboration, we also participated in their follow-on investment round.
“KPN Ventures gave us access to in-depth knowledge of IoT technology and supported us with operating experience to build a solid company infrastructure. Besides that, KPN Ventures took the lead in investment rounds when additional investment was needed which gave us the opportunity to focus on the global expansion instead of raising new funding.”
- Gerben van der Kamp, CEO Viloc
Cloudify is an Israel-based cloud orchestration platform revolutionizing the way modern IT is delivered. We invested in Cloudify late 2018 and became a pilot customer, testing their cloud orchestration software for use within KPN and to support our cloud service customers. During 2019, KPN decided to acquire a full license to accelerate and optimize the virtualization of its telecom networking software.
“KPN’s approach to startups enablement, and the business value they have provided to Cloudify during and after the investment process was priceless to us. They are agile and fast to respond, and we are fortunate to have them as our partner”
— Ariel Dan, CEO Cloudify
For collaborations to become successful, we look for a win-win situation, where all parties can flourish. A natural fit between the company and us both on a personal level and business scope is then needed. We believe our competitive edge lays in providing additional services such as industry expertise ranging from networking technologies and cybersecurity to cloud computing and sales and marketing. Also, we provide access to our high-quality communication services, including early access to new services and developer keys for API’s.
Finally, but most importantly, we provide access to our customers & industry network of millions of residential customers and hundreds of thousands of business customers in The Netherlands and abroad. To conclude, what makes us a value-added strategic investor is our capability to build cooperations with a large number of portfolio companies across different sectors.