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Investors Are Rediscovering RFID

We are seeing more readers who are venture capitalists, which is good news for the RFID industry.
By Mark Roberti
Jun 28, 2016

In the early days of RFID Journal, we offered a preconference seminar for the financial community. The idea was to provide venture capitalists and angel investors with a background on radio frequency identification technology, and understanding of trends in the market and presentations by individual companies. The seminars were often attended by 40 to 50 people. Then RFID went into the chasm.

By late 2007 or early 2008, the articles about RFID turned markedly negative. Many VCs who had invested in startups were burned. They were crammed down as companies needed more money to stay afloat. Investment-oriented seminars drew far fewer attendees, and the VC readership largely disappeared.

That's beginning to change. During the past year or so, I have noticed more venture capitalists, hedge fund managers and private equity firms signing up for our newsletters and attending our online webinars and virtual events.

It's not difficult to figure out what is driving the interest. RFID adoption is gaining momentum. More retailers worldwide are adopting the technology to boost in-store inventory accuracy and enable omnichannel retailing. The news about RFID has turned from overwhelmingly negative to overwhelmingly positive.

This is another good sign for the industry, and it's another reason why growth will accelerate. As RFID is more widely adopted, there is more opportunity for investors to make money. If they invest in companies with good technology and good marketing, then those companies will have more funds to invest in new products and new marketing, thus enabling them to grow faster.

RFID companies have done a good job of enhancing their products and the technology works very well, but solutions will be adopted faster if they are less expensive, more robust and easier to deploy. So investing in making today's solutions simpler to deploy will help accelerate adoption.

It's a smart time to invest. The technology has emerged from the chasm and has proved its value. Right now, it's a question of building critical mass and reaching a tipping point. When that happens, there will be a lot of money to be made. So we welcome VCs and other investors to our community. You will play an important role throughout the next couple of years.

Mark Roberti is the founder and editor of RFID Journal. If you would like to comment on this article, click on the link below. To read more of Mark's opinions, visit the RFID Journal Blog, the Editor's Note archive or RFID Connect.

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