With thermostats you can control remotely, fitness trackers that log your workouts, and dermal patches that customize delivery of medications, the internet of things has grown from fuzzy concept to big business in little more than half a decade. The funding has followed: The data and analytics company CB Insights found that investor dollars going into IoT companies more than tripled, to $1.2 billion, from the first quarter of 2013 to the first quarter of 2017--despite the fact that this segment of the tech sector hasn't midwifed a household-name megahit like Uber or Airbnb. Or at least not yet: Along with data on deal volume and total venture capital dollars invested, we've identified eight IoT companies worth watching.

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Hitting the Highlights

The Watershed Deal­--and What Follows
Google's $3.2 billion purchase of Nest is announced in early 2014. Coincidentally or not, a big uptick in IoT funding soon follows.

More Big Guys Take Notice
At CES in January 2015, Samsung CEO BK Yoon says all Samsung products will be IoT devices by 2020--thus giving the still-nascent technology a huge endorsement.

High-Water Mark
The segment's funding peaks in early 2016--and subsequently declines. One plausible reason, says Gillett, is that the era marked "the initial wave of large-scale awareness and enthusiasm before people said, 'Hey, this thing is going to be complicated and long-running.' "

The First Big Hit
In late 2016, Amazon announces it has sold millions of its voice-controlled Echo devices--which are often a gateway to IoT applications in the home--and that the Echo's holiday sales were nine times what they were in 2015.