Business / Crowdfunding / Funding / Internet / Investing

With new investment, AKUA looks to hire tech talent in Baltimore

The funding from Momenta Ventures comes as the cloud-focused company looks to bring the LoRa protocol favored by IoT developers to supply chain and logistics.

AKUA team members L to R: Jake Seman, Tom O’Keefe, Rich Fiasconaro, and Dave Fiore. (Courtesy photo)

In 2020, AKUA is looking to expand its product and software engineering team at Spark Baltimore.

The hiring comes after the company, which makes a cloud platform that provides data from sensors to allow cargo owners to track, monitor and secure the goods they are shipping, recently closed on a new round of funding. The amount was not disclosed.

Momenta Ventures, which is based in Switzerland, led the round and joined as a new investor. Existing investors Crosslink Capital and ModnLabs also participated. With the investment, the company will be adding to the capabilities of its gateway platform, which uses sensors and other internet of things technology to provide data to customers about goods being shipped. Specifically, said CEO Neil Furukawa, AKUA will be adding the low-power wide-area (LoRa) protocol, which allows connection to a low-bandwidth network that’s useful for IoT because of its lower cost and ability to travel over long distances.

“With LoRa technology, sensor manufacturers can make sensors that are a lot more disposable and environmentally friendly and low cost,” Furukawa said.

In AKUA, Momenta sees a chance to bring the technology to supply chain and logistics.

Spun out of Inner Harbor-based CyberPoint International in 2016, Furukawa said AKUA is also growing after signing several contracts in 2019. Last year, it participated in San Francisco’s Plug and Play accelerator, which provided access to leaders in the supply chain industry. It previously raised $3 million.

The company has a team of about 10 people in Spark Baltimore, which makes up the product development and software team. It will likely look to add five more people. The company maintains a base in San Francisco. Furukawa said Baltimore continues to be attractive given proximity to the city’s port, federal agencies where it has bid and won contracts, and the talent.

As Furukawa put it: “We’re in Baltimore for a reason.”


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