Beacons — the micro-location technology that lets your smartphone trigger events based on how close you are to a beacon transmitter — have many uses beyond simple proximity-based marketing. These include indoor navigation and points of interest, or more industrial use-cases, such as tracking the movement of items stored in a warehouse.
One startup that’s been busy building out a full beacon platform to take advantage of these opportunities is Kontakt.io, which, along with competitor Estimote, is headquartered in Krakow, Poland — a region fondly referred to as ‘Beacon Valley’.
Previously backed by Sunstone Capital, Kontakt.io is announcing that it has closed another $5 million in funding. Leading the round is new investor Credo Ventures, the Prague-based VC firm. The Polish startup says it plans to use the new capital for product development — expanding the ecosystem and use-cases for beacons — and for further international expansion.
Explaining some of the thinking behind the investment, Credo Partner Jan Habermann tells me he is particularly excited about the growth of Kontakt.io and what the startup has been able to achieve on fairly limited resources.
He also points out that although the most prominent use case of Beacons is pushing discount codes to people as they pass by, there are many more lucrative use-cases for the technology.
“Limiting beacons just to this particular use case is shortsighted since there is so much more to it,” says Habermann. “For me the indoor navigation use-case, providing relevant context to the user is great, but for consumers I guess the real killer app will emerge once there are more beacons deployed and the infrastructure is available for third party providers”.
However, in the immediate term, there are a plethora of B2B applications for Beacons and this is key to Credo’s investment. “I think there is nothing better at the moment for creating solutions for asset tracking and monitoring,” he says, to give just one example. “You can use Kontakt’s beacons to track valuables in the warehouse or any premises, during transportation, trigger alarms if something (or someone) moves where it is not supposed to”.
But perhaps even more crucially, argues Habermann, is that beacons are enabling all of these new applications to happen “at a price which no other technology offered before”. Something that, with today’s investment, Kontakt.io is better placed than ever to benefit from.