Temperature control on top of the world
TAG Sensors receives $2 million from private equity firm to open Asian HQ in Singapore
The private equity fund Elite Partners Capital (EPC) in Singapore invested $2 million dollars at the summit of Mount Everest in the Norwegian startup TAG Sensors this summer. This means that the startup will establish their Asian headquarters in the city to take advantage of clever local competence, modern IT infrastructure, strong IP protection, and a strategic logistic location. Through its network and resources, EPC will help TAG Sensors to expand in Asia. The agreement was signed at the Norwegian Embassy in Singapore.
The startup was founded in 2012 by Knut Nygård in Mo i Rana. Today, the company has 14 employees and sales offices in the United States, England, and Spain.
Since the start, the company has developed complete solutions for cold chain management. Its printable temperature sensor label can be attached to a product or a package, constantly measuring the temperature from the product’s current location.
With the TAG Sensors solution, business customers can verify the entire temperature log at the time of delivery, with the confidence that their products are safe. The clients can trust that their temperature sensitive products have not been harmed by temperature. They can also discover any damage incurred earlier in the delivery chain and determine whether action can be taken.
The McDonald’s Corporation is currently testing the temperature loggers. The solution is ideal for both fresh and frozen food, as well as for vital and high-valued pharmaceutical products. It is estimated that $813 billion is lost in the food industry each year from poor cold-chain management, in which items are spoiled between production and distribution. The pharmaceutical industry alone loses an estimated $12.5 billion annually.
The sensor has a small clock, thermometer, and a small battery, which can last up to 18 months. It has a so-called dual interface and is able to communicate with both NFC and RFID-technology. NFC is built into all new smartphones, so it is easy to read the measurements of the most recent days. From the manufacturing plant in Mo i Rana, the price per sticker at full capacity is estimated to be $1.
On the May 16, at 6:30 a.m. at Mount Everest, a TAG sticker measured minus-27 degrees Celsius from outside a saxophone box. At the same time, it was a comfortable 9 degrees in the jacket pocket. Jazzathlete Håkon Skog Erlandsen conducted this extreme testing with a zero failure rate, when he held the world’s highest concert atop the mountain. At the opening gathering at the company’s new Singapore headquarters, he told the amazing story of his journey, accompanied by saxophone music.
In 2018, the Internet of Things (IoT) company was awarded a close to a $2 million grant from Horizon 2020, the European Union Research and Innovation program. The grant is the second received by the company from the EU. Only 63 companies across Europe received funding in this round. There were 1,644 applications to the European Commission. The focus of the program is on radical, market-creating innovation to improve productivity and international competitiveness.
Earlier, the company raised more than $5.5 million in funding from private investors and public funding, including from New York’s Breed Reply, Europe’s leading IoT investor, Platform Ventures and Innovation Norway.
There were 30,000 startups that applied for the Startup World Cup last spring. Of those, 36 made it to the semifinals. 12 advanced to the finals. TAG Sensors reached the finals, and almost won the first prize, finishing second.
This article originally appeared in the November 1, 2019, issue of The Norwegian American.