One of the biggest opportunities in the new space economy lies in taking the connectivity made possible by ever-growing communications satellite constellations and making that useful for things and companies here on Earth. Startup Skylo, which emerged from stealth today with a $103 million Series B funding announcement, is one of the players making that possible in an affordable way.
The funding brings Skylo’s total raised to $116 million, following a $14 million Series A. This new round was led by SoftBank Group (which at this point carries a complicated set of connotations) and includes existing investors DCM and Eric Schmidt’s Innovation Endeavors. Skylo’s business is based on connecting Internet of Things (IoT) devices, including sensors, industrial equipment, logistics hardware and more, to satellite networks using the cellular-based Narrowband IoT protocol. Its network is already deployed on current geostationary satellites, too, meaning its customers can get up and running without waiting for any new satellites or constellations with dedicated technology to launch.
Skylo has completed tests of its technology with commercial partners in real-world usage, including partners in private enterprise and government, across industries including fisheries, maritime logistics, automotive and more. The company’s main claim to advantage over other existing solutions is that it can offer connectivity for as little as $1 per seat, along with hardware that sells for less than $100, which it says adds up to a cost savings of as much as 95% versus other satellite IoT connectivity available on the market.
Its hardware, the Skylo Hub, is a satellite terminal that connects to its network on board geostationary satellites, acting as a “hot spot” to make that available to standard IoT sensors and devices. It’s roughly 8″ by 8″, can be powered internally via battery or plugged in, and is easy for customers to install on their own without any special expertise.
The company was founded in 2017 by CEO Parth Trivedi, CTO Dr. Andrew Nuttall and Chief Hub Architect Dr. Andrew Kalman. Trivedi is an MIT Aerospace and Astronautical engineering graduate; Nuttall has a Ph.D in Aeronautics from Stanford; and Kalman is a Stanford professor who previously founded CubeSat component kit startup Pumpkin, Inc.