Why our latest investment in a Barcelona smart city company is a bridge to McRock’s future

mcrock july 20 2017 why our latest investment

The story is beyond compelling. An iconic 14th century bridge in Italy, the Ponte Vecchio, was feared to be on the verge of collapse in May 2016 when a part of the road surrounding the bridge fell into a sinkhole. The city of Florence looked to Worldsensing, a Barcelona-based tech company, to monitor the historical bridge using wireless sensors and data analytics to ensure the safety of the thousands of pedestrians that cross the structure daily. Worldsensing’s Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) technology was already used in hundreds of locations around the world including Singaporean tunnels, German bridges and Chilean mines. The solution combines low-power wide area sensor networks with software analytics to provide real-time information on critical assets necessary to predict and respond to changes that may occur.

Worldsensing started small in 2008 by the Spanish road cyclist Ignasi Vilajosana and today has 73 employees and is a global leader in providing smart city and IIoT solutions. The company has over 200 customers across 50 countries connecting systems, people and infrastructure. This enables real-time decision-making, helping optimize city traffic flow, monitor critical infrastructure projects & assets and deliver insights in mining operations. Cities around the world, such as Casablanca, Guadalajara and Bogota, have turned to Worldsensing to provide up-to-the-minute intelligence on all aspects of a city’s operations from traffic optimization, HOV lane management, parking availability to police force utilization and security monitoring.

McRock’s €3.5 million investment in Worldsensing is pivotal in several ways. It was our first co-investment alongside Cisco Systems, one of our corporate partners and investors in McRock. It marks our entry into Europe which is a hot bed of activity in the IIoT sector driven by what the Europeans call Industry 4.0. Lastly, it gets us even closer to large Industrial companies such as Siemens and Pitney Bowes who in this case, both have a significant focus on smart city solutions which happens to be one of the fastest growing areas of the IIoT. These are all important accomplishments as we build a world class IIoT fund headquartered in Canada. Start small, think big and cross that bridge safely.

Author: Scott MacDonald, Co-founder and Managing Partner, McRock Capital