Boeing HorizonX Invests In Australian Satellite Communications Firm

Boeing [BA] on Monday said its HorizonX ventures arm has made an investment in a small Australian company focused on nanosatellite communications for remote areas.

Boeing doesn’t disclose the specifics of its HorizonX investments other than to say they range in the singled millions of dollars to the low double-digit millions of dollars. For the investment in the nanosatellite communications startup Myriota, Boeing joined other investors in a $15 million Series A funding round.

Myriota is developing direct-to-orbit technology that Boeing said “enables massive-scale, low-cost communications for IoT devices anywhere on Earth.” IoT refers to Internet of Things, which is the growing number of systems, devices and appliances worldwide that are connected to the Internet.

“We formed Myriota to solve a major connectivity problem: hundreds of millions of devices that need to communicate but don’t have cost-effective, battery-friendly networks to do so,” Alex Grant, the company’s CEO, said in a statement. “The scale of this investment with strong domestic venture capital and strategic participation by global investors is significant for Myriota and our vision to deliver IoT connectivity for everyone, everywhere.”

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Direct-to-orbit satellite image by Myriota

Myriota, which has 11 employees, has developed its technology based on work its founders did with the Univ. of South Australia’s Institute for Telecommunications Research.

Myriota said it plans to open a $2 million IoT Innovation Lab. It also said it plans to add 50 new staff as part of efforts to accelerate growth.

Boeing said Myriota’s direct-to-orbit technology has “applications across the logistics, utilities, agricultural, environmental and maritime industries, where IoT connectivity via traditional means is extremely challenging and expensive.”

The investment in Myriota is the first by HorizonX outside the U.S. It is also the first in a satellite communications firm.

“By investing in Myriota, we are proud to support Australia’s startup ecosystem and growing space industry,” Steve Nordlund, vice president of HorizonX, said in a statement. “Myriota’s technology influences how we think about space-based communication and connectivity in remote locations.”

Other investors in the Series A funding include Australian firms Blue Sky Venture Capital, Main Sequence Ventures and Right Click Capital. Singapore’s Singtel Innov8 also made an investment.

Last year, Boeing made a small investment in South Australia worth $383,000 over five years in the Techstars global accelerator program to support local startups.





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