Esper Raises $30 million Series B for IoT DevOps Platform
Esper | May 22, 2021
While there are billions of IoT devices in operation today, the tooling for developing (and updating) the software for them still leaves a lot to be desired. Esper, which raised a $30 million Series B round today, creates tools that enable developers and engineers to deploy and manage fleets of Android-based edge devices. Scale Venture Partners led the round, with participation from Madrona Venture Group, Root Ventures, Ubiquity Ventures, and Haystack.
The company claims that thousands of device manufacturers are developing these types of devices on Android alone, but that scaling and maintaining these deployments is difficult. The central concept here is that Esper brings the DevOps expertise that software developers have come to expect to application growth. The company claims that its tools allow businesses to avoid building their internal DevOps teams and instead scale their Android-based IoT fleets for use cases ranging from digital signage and kiosks to custom solutions in healthcare, retail, logistics, and other industries.
“The pandemic has transformed industries such as connected fitness, digital health, hospitality, and food delivery, setting in motion the introduction of intelligent edge devices ever further. However, better program automation is expected for each new use case,” said Esper CEO and co-founder Yadhu Gopalan, who co-founded the company with COO Shiv Sundar. “Esper's mature cloud infrastructure includes the features that cloud users have come to expect, reimagined for devices.”
Mobile device management (MDM) is not a novel concept, but the Esper team claims that these solutions were not designed for this kind of use case.“MDMs are the market solution right now. They are built for devices that are taken into an environment,” Gopalan explained. “The DNA of these technologies is embedded in enterprise security and application deployment in the network. Our customers are sending devices into the wild. It is a very different use case and model.”
To overcome these problems, Esper provides a suite of tools and services, including a complete programming stack for developers, cloud-based device management services, and hardware emulators to get started with designing custom devices.
“In less than six months, Esper assisted us in launching our Fusion-connected fitness offering on three different types of hardware,” said Chris Merli, founder of Inspire Fitness. “Their full-stack linked fitness Android platform assisted us in testing our application on different hardware platforms, configuring all of our devices over the cloud, and managing our fleet exactly to our specifications. They provided us with speed, Android expertise, and the trust that our application will provide our customers with a delightful experience.”
To extend the life of older x86 Windows devices, the company also provides options for running Android on them.
“We spent about a year and a half putting the facilities together,” Gopalan said. “ That is the difficult part because it involves creating a reliable, robust mechanism that customers can rely on to ensure that bits are sent to the devices. And you can also roll back if you need to.”
That is the difficult part because it involves creating a reliable, robust mechanism that customers can rely on to ensure that bits are sent to the devices. And you can also roll back if you need to.”
Esper is working with hardware partners to launch devices that come pre-installed with Esper support.