WASHINGTON — Myriota announced April 6 it raised $19.3 million to continue developing a constellation of at least 25 satellites to connect internet-of-things devices globally.
Australian investors Hostplus and Main Sequence Ventures led Myriota’s Series B round, with participation from Boeing HorizonX, In-Q-Tel, Right Click Capital, Singtel Innov8 and the South Australian Venture Capital Fund.
Former Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull also participated in the round.
In an interview, Myriota CEO Alex Grant said the company started fundraising last year, before the coronavirus pandemic impacted global markets.
“That was very fortunate for us,” Grant told SpaceNews. “It didn’t directly affect our round.”
Founded in 2015 to commercialize cheap, narrowband signal transmitters developed at the University of South Australia, Myriota has raised $37 million total. Grant said the company’s core systems are cloud-based and that its communications services haven’t been disrupted by the coronavirus.
The pandemic may delay Myriota from launching the three satellites it has under construction by Tyvak Nano-Satellite Systems, Inc, however. Grant said the 3U cubesats are in an “advanced stage” of production, and should launch on rideshare missions this year barring delays caused by the pandemic. He declined to name launch vehicles.
Absent its own satellites, Myriota jump-started its constellation effort by signing a purchase agreement with Canadian ship-tracking company exactEarth to buy satellites it was already using for early service offerings. Myriota said March 31 it is buying four small satellites (EV-1, EV-6, EV-9 and EV-11), six ground stations and associated spectrum licenses from exactEarth.
ExactEarth said Myriota will pay 600,000 Canadian dollars ($421,000) for the assets, comprising 150,000 Canadian dollars in cash and 450,000 Canadian dollars in preferred shares of Myriota.
Peter Mabson, CEO of exactEarth and chairman of Myriota, said the transfer helps exactEarth because it “achieves several strategic and financial objectives as we position ourselves in line with that of a pure-play data services business.”
Grant said buying the exactEarth satellites will help Myriota reach an hourly revisit rate — a target he said will require 10 satellites. With 25 satellites, Myriota will be able to revisit IoT sensors every one to 10 minutes, he said.
Myriota is supporting its ground station network with gateway services from KSAT and Amazon Web Services, Grant said.
Myriota has discussed a long-term goal of operating 50 satellites, which Grant said would enable near-real-time connectivity. The company has no timeline for reaching 50 satellites, though, he said.
Myriota will use its new capital to fund additional satellites and increase its head count from around 40 people up to 80 people, Grant said.