Innovation factories: World’s 10 best IoT Hubs

Smart Business

Innovation factories: World’s 10 best IoT Hubs

IoT hubs are not just hotbeds for startups; established companies can also gain a boost by using them. These communities of innovators offer direct access to hosts of fresh new ideas and plenty of digital expertise. Choosing the right hub can be tricky but, as a rule, the best IoT hubs offer the widest range of services.

by Oliver Schonscheck

Startup hubs have a long tradition in the technology industry but their potential is still underrated by many es tablished companies. They are not only a good starting point but also offer the best opportunities to revolutionize existing business models, further the technology agenda, and generate know-how – even long after the startup phase is over. Instead of looking at generic startup centers, companies would do better to set their sights on specialist IoT hubs as their nucleus for innovation as well as a way to kick-start their entry into the totally connected world of IoT.

In our IoT lab, we offer a lot of tools, a 3D printer, and large work desks. We are also able to connect startups with
mentors, partners, investors, and potential customers.

Robert Reich, startup manager at Prague Startup Centre

IoT Hubs: Robert Reich


Scores of IoT hubs have sprung up around the globe in recent years, often driven by local, regional, or national governments, but business associations, universities, and research institutes have also become typical hosts. For startups, most good hubs offer much-needed professional advice and support in areas such as marketing, sales, fnance, and tax law – things with which many technology-grounded founders struggle. Many operators provide coaching and mentoring services as well, so hopeful young founders can draw on the experience of seasoned entrepreneurs who, in many cases, were a successful startup themselves just a few years ago.

The Americas

Sunnyvale, California, USA (

26 specifc IoT corporate partners, including Panasonic, Hitachi, Compal, Rockwell Automation, Fujitsu, ADT, Philips, Kyocera, Nintendo.

Startup references: Sentiance, Angee, Swiftly, BreezoMeter, Stack,, DynoSense, Locbit


  • Innovation team
  • Insights of best practices from other leading corporations
  • Soft landing pads internationally for corporations to explore startup ecosystem in other regions
  • Ability to select/engage startups
  • Help to change the culture of the corporation
  • Platform for better branding, events, networking through the ecosystem

raleigh, North Carolina, USA (

IoT ecosystem organizer in the US. More than 70 partners, the majority of which are large corporations like IBM, Microsoft, Oracle, Nordic Semiconductor, Flex, Verizon, and Samsung.

Startup references: Fokus Labs, ProAxion, BruVue


  • Help established companies connect with the entrepreneurial and startup community
  • Help to find high-growth future customers, exceptional talent and emerging technologies
  • Organize business development and education focused workshops, conferences and events

Chicago, Illinois, USA (

Launched in May 2017 as a partnership between Bosch and 1871 (created to support Chicago’s digital startup community), it is a community of entrepreneurs, IoT startups, corporate innovators, and creative minds.

Targets: educating about IoT, supporting startups, connecting partners


  • Network of IoT trends and in-market solutions
  • Active community of startups, universities, investors, corporations, civic leaders, technology influencers,and thought leaders all invested in IoT
  • Experienced innovation team focused on integrating the partner company into the IoT ecosystem

Hubs are also a good place to meet energetic, like minded people and as a forum for the exchange of ideas. The same benefits apply to established companies as well, with the added bonus of the chance to pool resources and exchange product and application designs. Hosts and Tom Snyder, Executive Director, RIoT photo ©: The Americas tenants of IoT hubs have direct contacts among local startups and can link them to older enterprises that can provide fresh impetus to established business models as well as entry points into new markets and technologies. Some IoT hubs are more successful than others in this form of matchmaking which, in the end, is another kind of service, albeit a tricky juggling act requiring a vast network of contacts within government, academia, associations, and the investment community, as well as personal contacts within the business world. Most hubs operate several business centers where startups, especially, can find room and the necessary infrastructure to get up and running quickly. Many also offer a range of social events aimed at creating interaction and bonding between entrepreneurs and employees, both young and old.

IoT Hubs: Tom Snyder Executive Director RIoT

Tom Snyder, Executive Director, RIoT

A good example is RIoT, an IoT Hub founded 2017 in Raleigh, North Carolina, for the express purpose of providing resources to the startup community that are not available in typical co-working and startup incubator spaces. Its RIoT Lab is a fully fledged hardware, wireless, and software prototyping laboratory with all the tools for full-stack IoT prototyping. Tom Snyder, RIoT’s executive director, says the hub focuses on being the connective tissue to bring together industry, startups, government, universities, and investors in the most collaborative way possible. “We only are successful when all these stakeholders are successful,” he claims.

IoT Hubs: Cansu Deniz Bayrak COO Startupbootcamp

Cansu Deniz Bayrak, COO Startupbootcamp

Startupbootcamp IoT, founded in 2016 in London, operates a worldwide chain of accelerator programs designed to support early stage tech founders and hardware developers. The programs allow them to scale their companies rapidly by providing direct access to an international network of the most relevant mentors, partners, and investors in their industry. This includes:

  • AfriTech in South Africa, which focuses on high-growth startups in blockchain, connected devices, payment solutions, capital markets, asset management, and integrated supply chains.
  • Digital Health Berlin, which is now entering its third cycle, is supported by major pillars of health care, Sanof, Munich Re, Berlin Institute of Health, and Deutsche Apotheker und Ärztebank. Its goal is to provide a solid launchpad for fast-growth early stage IoT startups.
  • Smart City Amsterdam offers coworking space in Amsterdam’s frst IoT startup hub and offers three month innovation programs in areas such as smart infrastructures and urban planning, smart homes and buildings, smart energy, and clean tech.

“Even with the advanced support ecosystems that exist in Europe, starting up a hardware business is still harder than starting a purely software-based one,” says Cansu Deniz Bayrak, COO of Startupbootcamp IoT. “There are not nearly enough hardware-specifc propositions for early stage startups; this is why we launched Startupbootcamp IoT in 2016 with the aim of making the journey of building a connected hardware startup clearer, shorter, and more successful for entrepreneurs. We rely on the cumulated Startupbootcamp expertise and our global network of 22 programs in six continents with 150 industry partners to connect the dots for our alumni startups.”

IoT Hubs: Europe

Dresden,Germany (

Partners: SAP, T-Systems Multimedia Solutions, Infneon, GlobalFoundries, Fraunhofer, Silicon Saxony, HighTechStartbahn, 5GLab

Startup references: Wandelbots


  • Consultation on company setup
  • Mentoring (via FutureSax and others)
  • Incubation and growth consultancy (mainly via HighTechStartbahn)
  • Connecting to relevant industry partners
  • Marketing to local and regional policy makers as well as the general public
  • Innovation workshops
  • Setup and management of pilot projects
  • Promotion of activities

London, UK (>)

Hardware vertical of Startupbootcamp, a family of global startup growth programs. Funding partners include: Cisco, Rolls-Royce, DLL, Inmarsat, and Farnell/Avnet

Startup references: ThingTrax, Doordeck, Trackener, HUDlog, Mothive, Odyssey Sensors,


  • Insights into upcoming trends in IoT innovation
  • Aligning a startup’s sourcing with its roadmap, so the startup is able to interact in a meaningful way (proof of concept, pilots)

Manchester, UK (

Program providing one-to-one support, mentorship, and go-to market strategy for disruptive technology companies. Sponsorship from local and global partners: Manchester Science Partnerships (MSP) and Cisco.


  • Acting as a co-innovation hub to trailblaze applied research, collaborating with partners, startups, universities, and government research institutions

Prague, Czech Republic (

Launched in April 2017, it helps IoT startups to get its pilot customers and expand internationally through Conrad and Sigfox network operators. Focused on B2B IoT and smart city projects, it offers help and mentoring.

Partners: T-Mobile, SimpleCell, SigFox, Microsoft, Operator ICT, EY, Conrad, Esa, BigClown

Startup references: Comfort Meter, Larx, Acrios


  • Connecting startups, mentors, partners, investors, and potential customers
  • Regular lectures, workshops, and meetups

IoT Hub Berlin, located in Factory Görlitzer Park, is a newcomer to the IoT hub scene. Founded in July 2018, it is part of a network of 12 digital hubs across Germany, collectively known as De:hub, which is supported by an initiative of the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy. Each location is designed to serve as a meeting point, or platform, where new and old economies come together to solve new challenges by using IoT, machine learning, AI, and blockchain. Harald Zapp, CEO of Next Big Thing, a main partner in De:hub, believes that by bringing together governmental support, scientific research, and technological knowledge entrepreneurial innovation can be fueled while also helping to back the German industry’s future. “Knowledge, tech, and sustainability must be synched if success in IoT is to be achieved,” he says.

IoT Hubs: Asia and Australia

Singapore, Asia (

Startup accelerator program in Australia and Asia (Brisbane, Perth, Sydney, Singapore, and Melbourne). Muru-D is a place for technology startups to access investment opportunities and business assistance in their acceleration phase. The program provides an opportunity for startups to receive ongoing business support, mentoring, and coaching to bring their ideas to life, in addition to a seed capital investment from Muru-D, backed by Telstra. Its mission is to develop the best entrepreneurial minds in Australasia, giving them the tools they need to solve the world’s most challenging problems.

Startup reference: FarmBot


  • Connecting founders, investors, and mentors

taipei,taiwan, Asia (

A Community Lab in Microsoft’s Taipei offce supports an IoT ecosystem of startups, makers, and academic partners

For vertical partners: Based on dedicated IoT verticals identifed, each lab comes with “scenario kits” that can be dynamically installed based on specifc target device/scenario.

The IoT Open House provides workshops to help address challenges or obstacles that the company may be facing in current IoT projects.

Microsoft’s Internet of Things Expo is a global networking opportunity for partners to come together and share and learn about solutions and market opportunities

Bangalore, India, Asia (
p>CoE IoT is a startup accelerator, an initiative to build an IoT ecosystem in India that connects various entities, such as startups, enterprises, venture capitalists, government, and academia. Formed by The National Association of Software and Services Companies (Nasscom), the center is designed to foster sustained engagement between large corporate and innovative technology ventures across India. Partners include: Microsoft, Cisco, Intel, IBM, AWS, Dell EMC, Schneider Electric, GE, Texas Instruments


  • Access to trend insights
  • Connect with like-minded businesses
  • Government policy roundtables
  • Virtual corporate accelerator to help corporates build their own program

As IoT spreads to more industries, the role of IoT hubs is certain to grow. Looking around the globe, Smart Industry has picked our ten favorites from among a pack of contestants.

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