I like to say that before founding Ayla back in 2010, I came from a failed chip company. While I was working at the company – ZeroG Wireless – it became increasingly clear that while we were focused on the right market, we were trying to solve the wrong challenge. The chip was a great chip, and we had an awesome team – some of those folks work at Ayla today. But while ZeroG was providing an interesting building block that would enable the Internet of Things to grow, we weren’t focusing on the real value in the market: the digital transformation that comes with the expansion of the Internet into new markets. Basically: helping the world change faster to enable safer, better, more competitive products and services.
Making this vision a reality was really an immense challenge, requiring orchestration of lots of moving parts, and a diverse set of technical skills all under one roof: device firmware, cloud, and applications. I got together with former ZeroG colleagues Phillip Chang and Tom Lee and we decided to start a company. Fortunately, just before incorporating we met Adrian Caceres, who had the architectural vision and experience to help make the vision a reality.
This was back in 2010 and very early days for IoT. The acronym itself, “IoT,” was pretty much unknown to most investors at the time. The earliest discussions we had in those days painted a bleak picture for getting investment. But we believed – and we got buy in from our spouses that it would be ok if we worked without pay – and then we raised a convertible note including our own money to get the company started. Drew Lanza, a former board member that really helped me while at ZeroG, contributed, and soon after we brought on Joe Eykholt and then Dan Myers as our first engineers.
By the Fall of 2011, we decided to begin the process of an active raise. It was not a slam dunk, but we raised a $5M Series A, selecting Voyager Capital and Curtis Feeny as lead, and rounding out the round with Crosslink. Back then, the market was still in its infancy, and there was a long road ahead and lots of uncertainty.
Flash forward to today: we’re not in the kitchen anymore.
It is just about 6 years since raising that Series A, and Ayla has grown along with the IoT market. We have a global workforce of amazing Aylians, have 100+ customers and partners, and are on track to process >50B data transactions this year, with a growth rate to surpass 1T transactions by 2020. This past year we leveraged our technology lead and position in China to create a great JV to further accelerate our growth in the region and springboard the company towards large telco and service provider deals, and close our Series D, making it nearly $130M funds raised. We are a clear leader in our space, and growing faster than we ever have.
With this growth has come change, and constantly evolving need for different skill sets and experience. Certainly, a key requirement for Aylian life is the ability to adapt to new environments, and we strive to bring new Aylians into the company with the right expertise for what’s coming around the corner.
So with that in mind, and considering the stage of growth for the company, I could not be more proud to announce that Jonathan Cobb will be the new CEO of Ayla, bringing a huge amount of energy and operational expertise to the leadership role at Ayla. I met Jon more than a year ago, and it was clear that he was a perfect fit for Ayla, and had skills that we needed to get the company to the next level. He joined as COO in June 2017, and since then has rapidly helped the company execute and grow. Jon is going to be a fantastic CEO and I am looking forward to supporting him in my new roles of executive chairman and chief strategy officer.
As Phillip recently stated, Ayla is a second family. Watching this family grow and evolve is one of the greatest and most humbling experiences of my professional career. I am excited to work with Jon and the rest of the Aylians as we help change the world with IoT!