Spark Labs, the same folks who made this open-source Nest-like thermostat, has raised $4.9 million in Series A funding led by Lion Wells Capital, and with participation from O’Reilly AlphaTech Ventures, SOSventures, and Collaborative Fund, as well as a host of angel investors.
Spark Labs develops two main products, the $39 Spark Core (which is a tiny development kit for creating IoT devices) and the SparkCloud (a platform that allows these Internet-connected devices to connect to each other and communicate). Today, the company has announced a third product called Spark OS, which allows developers to integrate their projects with an open-source OS, compatible with iOS and Android.
The company has already shipped around 25,000 units of the Spark Core, and Spark Labs also offers a more intensive maker kit complete with the Spark Core, breadboard, jumper wires, resistors, capacitors, sensors, buttons, LEDs, and more for $99.
See, the key to Spark’s products is that they’re easy enough for a n00b to enjoy, but sophisticated enough for even enterprise customers.
Spark Labs already had a successful Kickstarter campaign, raising 60x its original $10,000 funding goal.
The project started when founder Zach Supalla wanted to find a better way for his father, who was deaf, to stay in touch with his mother. He built a little system that made the lights flash when she sent him a text, and realized shortly thereafter that other people wanted to build their own IoT devices.
The project shifted from the Spark Socket, the device Supalla built for his dad, to the Spark Core and the Spark Cloud, which provide an infrastructure for tinkerers of all types.
“Our greatest challenge is the shifting landscape,” said Supalla. “The IoT is a big deal, and companies around the world are trying to figure out how they play in it. The market changes every week when someone launches an initiative, but luckily we move quick.”