Pepper topped $15 million in investments this week — adding to its ownership structure through a sizeable deal led by GXPI, the investment arm of Evergy.
“This strategic investment by Evergy gives us a great partner in the retail electric utility industry where IoT is beginning to play a critical role,” said Scott Ford, CEO of Pepper. “It also validates our approach of offering turnkey IoT solutions for enterprises that emphasize user privacy and security along with a great user experience.
Evergy (formerly Westar and Great Plains Energy) is an investor-owned electric utility headquartered in Kansas City.
With this week’s $3.25 million transaction, the GXPI-led investment syndicate joins current investors OpenAir Equity Partners, Leawood Ventures, the KCRise Fund, Royal Street Ventures, and Comporium Communications, in the Pepper ownership structure.
The Kansas City startup is designed to address critically underserved consumer Internet of Things needs like cyber security, IoT communications management, data privacy, and end user experience, said Ford.
Seeking to revolutionize the IoT ecosystem, Pepper’s IoT platform provides turnkey capabilities that enable large enterprises to design, deploy, and manage consumer IoT services.
“Evergy is committed to providing customers with clean, safe, reliable energy and smart tools and programs to manage their energy use,” said Brock Smith, a venture investor who led the deal for GXPI. “We look for opportunities to encourage and enable innovators like Pepper that are developing technologies that allow our customers to manage their energy use in ways that work for them. Pepper’s innovative, U.S.-based platform provides the reliability and security businesses and consumers want.”
Connected devices that make up IoT — from home security cameras to thermostats, even refrigerators — are finding their way into the homes of millions of American consumers, Ford noted.
“In addition to providing a great user experience, manufacturers, service providers, and retailers need to ensure their products and services protect customers’ privacy and personal data, and are defended from cyber security threats,” he said. “Our business partners look to us to provide the latest in IoT innovation and a great customer experience without compromising on security and privacy. We take a ‘Pepper Piece of Mind’ approach to security with an American-innovated, American-hosted platform solution to ensure the greatest possible level of reliability and security.”