R3-IoT becomes Krucial to branch out of aquaculture

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TAMPA, Fla. — Scottish startup R3-IoT rebranded as Krucial Aug. 18 amid plans to expand its connectivity solutions for remote sensors out of the aquaculture market.

The venture launched a software platform called Krucial Connect to enable a wider variety of customers to tap into its gateways, which use satellites and cellular networks to transmit data from nearby equipment-monitoring sensors.

Krucial CEO and co-founder Allan Cannon said the new application programming interface (API) “allows us to essentially scale our business much quicker and without becoming subject matter experts in every single market that we go into.”

The four-year-old startup launched commercial services in May with an end-to-end managed service tailored for the aquaculture market.

Cannon said the service has been “received really well in that industry” as many salmon farms are in remote and rural areas, although he declined to disclose customers. 

Krucial uses satellites operated by other companies to connect areas where cellular networks are unavailable.

Where space and terrestrial networks can both reach, Cannon said its hybrid connectivity architecture increases resiliency for terminals that also have a 10-day battery backup.

Outside of aquaculture, he sees strong demand for Krucial’s solutions in the utilities, energy, infrastructure, and transport markets.

Cannon added that there is often no cellular coverage for rail infrastructure in rural regions of North America, meaning tracks without a satellite-based solution have to be physically inspected in person.

These rail companies “have a lack of quality data that means that they can’t do things like preventative maintenance programs,” he said.

While most of Krucial’s customers are in the United Kingdom, Cannon said there are “lots of partnership discussions in North America.”

Krucial’s technology is designed to connect with satellites across multiple orbits.

The company, which does not disclose its satellite partners, was one of the winners of a OneWeb innovation challenge last year.

According to Cannon, Krucial’s connectivity-agnostic approach helps set the startup apart from others in a growing market for connecting Internet of Things (IoT) devices.

Some sensor technology and satellite capacity providers are also seeking to provide services directly to customers.

“In some cases, some of those companies would be competitors,” he said. 

“But we tend to see, actually, that because of the way that we’ve built our business … a lot of them actually become partners — or have the opportunity to become collaborators.”

Last year, Krucial raised $4.3 million in seed funding led by venture capital firm Space Capital, which helped the company almost double its headcount to 30 people over the last 12 months.

Cannon said the startup is seeking more funds to deploy its new Krucial Connect platform internationally.