As technology continues to revolutionize the way we live and work beyond the pandemic, here are some early stage companies innovating in the IoT space.

The Technology Pioneers of the World Economic Forum (WEF) 2021 represent a collection of 100 early-growth companies identified as followers working with new technologies and innovations.

This year’s list includes startups that shake up data and cybersecurity and open a trail in blockchain and digital assets.

Here, we take a look at new IoT businesses and smart cities on the list, covering innovators who are finding advanced technological solutions to a growing list of complex challenges in an increasingly digital post-pandemic world.

Diligent robotics

Founded by Andrea Thomaz and Vivian Chu in 2017, Diligent Robotics is an early-stage female-led company that produces AI-powered robot assistants for healthcare workers. Technology includes mobile manipulation, social intelligence and human-led learning skills to help workers in hospitals and medical centers.

The Austin-based company is known for creating Moxi, a robot that works in hospitals to assist clinical staff with tasks that patients cannot cope with, so that workers have more time for patient care. She performs time-consuming jobs such as picking up and collecting and is housed in several hospitals in Texas.

Both Thomaz and Chu are featured on MIT’s list of 35 Innovators Under 35. The two worked together at Georgia Tech where Thomaz co-advised Chu’s doctorate in robotics. Diligent Robotics raised $ 10 million in Serie A funding last year in a round led by DNX Ventures.

EQuota Energy

Based in Shanghai, China, EQuota Energy is a SaaS data analytics company that supports large manufacturing plants, industrial parks, commercial buildings and other services. It uses the power of AI and big data to monitor power consumption, optimize efficiency, and improve business operations.

The startup was founded by CEO Chunguang Charlotte Wang in 2014. MIT Aluminum Wang graduated in 2012 with a master’s in management and engineering, and the EQuota website says its core team consists of MIT graduates.

EQuota has deployed its technology in China in high-tech industrial parks, steel production sites and commercial buildings. It has received investments from major players in the sector such as Shell as well as the Asian Development Bank.

The First Man

HumanFirst is a medtech company that builds the operational infrastructure needed to bring decentralized testing and home health care.

Formerly known as Elektra Labs, the start-up American company helps drug manufacturers and hospitals use sensor technology to monitor key metrics, such as the patient’s heart rate and sleep patterns. It has developed workflow management software to enable remote monitoring through sensor-related products.

Co-founded by CEO Andy Coravos in 2017, HumanFirst is supported by Maverick Ventures, Lux Capital, Threshold Ventures, Architect Ventures, Boost VC, SV Angel, Village Global and angel investors. Earlier this year, the startup raised $ 12 million in new funding.


A software solution for urban planners and facility managers, Numina is a start-up company that builds technology to measure activity at the street level and deliver knowledge in 25 cities globally.

The company aims to collect real-time data based on the behavior of people, bicycles and vehicles in cities and convert them into digital formats that are secure to share, without compromising privacy. This helps inform decision makers trying to build smarter cities that are more walkable and bike friendly.

The company was co-founded by CEO Tara Pham in 2014 and is headquartered in New York. The Numina projects are supported by the Knight Foundation, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Clinton Foundation. Its investors include Shasta Ventures, Betaworks and BMW, among others.


The only other non-US starter on this list after EQuota is Videonetics. This Indian company has developed a unified video computing platform that uses the power of AI and in-depth learning to understand surveillance data. The technology helps users perform CCTV footage auditing and review in real time, creating intelligent incident reports for fast escalation and incident resolution.

The company was founded in 2008 by academic and entrepreneur Tinku Acharya and is located in Kolkata, India. Its video management software is used by more than 100 companies, including the Airports Authority of India, and its traffic management system monitors more than 15,000 lanes nationwide.

Acharya, who is the managing director of the company, has previously worked in engineering roles at Intel and AT&T in the US. Videonetics investors include Webel and GenNext, among others.


WooBloo is a start-up company that creates smart home technology using IoT and AI voice assistance. The company says its goal is to make homes more interconnected by making products that “do 10 things compared to consumers who buy 10 products to get things done.”

Headquartered in Raleigh, North Carolina, WooBloo was founded in 2017 by brothers and sisters Sirisha and Sandeep Gondi along with entrepreneurs Rahul Devarakonda and Bob Wysocki.

In 2020, the company launched its first product, a smart home assistant and projector called Smash. The Alexa-powered smart projector is designed to be portable and can use video streaming apps like Netflix, Prime Video and YouTube. With eyes from North America, the UK, India and Australia, WooBloo aims to raise funds from investors and meet the growing IoT demands of the global smart home market.

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