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New firm IoT Works will look for investments and acquisitions related to 'Internet of Things'

Posted by Scott Kirsner  December 10, 2012 10:45 AM

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Remember the Internet of Things? That always-on-the-verge-of-going-mainstream trend that would have our fridges, pets, car keys, and homes outfitted with sensors that constantly report on their well-being — or whereabouts — via a wireless network?

Well, it's still on the verge of going mainstream, and now there is an investment firm setting up shop in Needham to try to accelerate the arrival of what it calls "the next explosive wave of the internet … the Internet of Things." The founders of IoT Works are Woody Benson, formerly the managing director of Prism VentureWorks, and Philip DesAutels, who had helped Microsoft develop its education business.

They're not saying much yet about the new firm — or whether they've actually raised money so that it can make investments or acquisitions. (Their description of IoT Works is below.) "Investments and advising will be happening for sure," Benson says via e-mail, adding, "We are working on a big play with a global partner." IoT Works publishes a blog and e-mail newsletter newsletter focused on topics like sensors, connected lightbulbs, autonomous cars, and healthcare applications.

I asked Benson about Prism, the Needham-based VC firm he has run for more than eight years; it was unable to raise additional money from its backers, despite backing a few winners like LogMeIn, m:metrics, and Maven Networks. "Prism is not making new investments," he explained. "We have plenty of [capital] reserves to support our companies. I will remain a [general partner] and do everything I can to get value from our investments."

Here's their description of the opportunity:

IoT Works is an Internet of Things (IoT) focused investment company that brings together the best ideas, people, resources and financing. IoT Works is built on a simple premise - we believe a global army of makers empowered by advances in information and production technologies and the open democratization of invention and innovation are driving a transformation - from an internet of people to an internet of people, places and things, an Internet of Things connecting everybody & everything everywhere in an interactive, collaborative, adaptive and generative mesh of ambient data and rich services.

We believe that the Internet of Things is unfolding all around us right now, creating a revolutionary inflection point not unlike those of the industrial revolution (1750), the consumer revolution (1950), the computer revolution (1960), and the internet revolution (1990). As with every inflection point, the transition to an Internet of Things is causing new sources of commerce and new sources of innovation to emerge creating a world of possibilities.

We believe this revolution needs support and this support needs to break away from traditional venture models to something new, to something that fits the community of innovators it seeks to support. We built IoT Works to be that company.

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Innovation and technology news that matters, on a new website from the Boston Globe, featuring Scott Kirsner and other original reporting.

About Scott Kirsner

Scott Kirsner was part of the team that launched in 1995, and has been writing a column for the Globe since 2000. His work has also appeared in Wired, Fast Company, The New York Times, BusinessWeek, Newsweek, and Variety. Scott is also the author of the books "Fans, Friends & Followers" and "Inventing the Movies," was the editor of "The Convergence Guide: Life Sciences in New England," and was a contributor to "The Good City: Writers Explore 21st Century Boston." Scott also helps organize several local events on entrepreneurship, including the Nantucket Conference and Future Forward. Here's some background on how Scott decides what to cover, and how to pitch him a story idea.

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