Announcing Our Investment in Skylo — The World’s Most Affordable Satellite Technology
Two years ago, we quietly co-led the series A of a company called Skylo alongside our friends at Innovation Endeavors. Today, we’re excited to take the wraps off what Skylo has been building as they come out of stealth with $116M in funding, including a new $103M Series B led by SoftBank.
What Skylo does:
Skylo is commercializing the world’s lowest cost network purpose-built for machine data, i.e. connecting devices (vs. people) to the internet. The world’s largely been focused on broadband solutions connecting people through fiber or cellular in urban areas, and now next-gen satellite platforms like SpaceX’s StarLink and OneWeb in rural areas. What’s been unaddressed is the need for narrowband machine connectivity — the billions of IoT devices located outside of fiber and cellular coverage, and for which existing satellite solutions are cost prohibitive. Think freight containers, train coaches, fishing vessels, utilities infrastructure, farm equipment, mining equipment, and more.
Skylo’s solution leverages existing geostationary satellites and is purpose-built to connect devices at disruptively low cost — less than $100 for an 8’’ x 8’’ transceiver/hub, and as low as $1 / month for connectivity. This is 95% less expensive than existing satellite solutions (typically hundreds or thousands of dollars for a transceiver alone), enabling previously unconnected devices to be connected for the first time ever and opening up entirely new markets and use cases.
Why we invested:
Given our deep experience in telecommunications at DCM (e.g. DCM Co-Founder and Skylo Board Member David Chao co-founded JCI, Japan’s first public mobile virtual network operator), we’d specifically been on the hunt for a disruptively affordable, IoT focused connectivity solution. What we saw in Skylo was:
- A massive global opportunity: with billions of IoT devices spanning both the developing and developed world.
- Unique and superior technology: spun out of research at Stanford and led by Chief Hub Architect Dr. Andrew Kalmann (formerly Director of Stanford’s Space & Systems Development Lab) and CTO Dr. Andrew Nuttall.
- Game-changing economics: so much so that we believe entire new industries and next generation services will be born on Skylo’s platform, much like apps like Uber and WeChat were only made possible through the advent of the smartphone.
And… we’re live (and recruiting)!
Skylo is now operationally live. A few years ago, after meeting with India’s Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, the team was encouraged to launch this transformative connectivity technology in support of India’s Digital India initiative. Today, we’re excited to announce that Skylo is live over India, with early deployments across fishing vessels, trains, trucks, tractors and more from the Himalayas to the Indian Ocean. Skylo is currently working with some of the largest enterprise groups and government bodies, with general commercial availability anticipated later this year.
Congratulations to the Skylo team on coming out of stealth and a successful series B fundraise. We couldn’t be more honored and privileged to be part of the team, and excited about the journey ahead. If Skylo’s mission of building the most affordable and accessible network to mobilize the world’s machine data resonates, check out open roles here.
- David Chao & Ibrahim AlSuwaidi