Startup OQ Technology raises $13 million to expand satellite IoT network

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TAMPA, Fla. — Luxembourg startup OQ Technology said Sept. 1 it has raised about $13 million for its planned satellite constellation to connect internet of things (IoT) devices.

The Series A funding round was co-led by Saudi oil and gas company Aramco’s venture capital arm and a fund managed by Greek early-stage investor 5G Ventures.

OQ and CEO Omar Qaise said proceeds would fund future satellites and help the company expand internationally, particularly across Luxembourg, Saudi Arabia, and Greece.

The startup has two demonstration satellites in orbit, which Qaise said have been showing potential customers how its technology is compatible with devices operating under 5G protocols.

“We have some MoUs with these customers,” Qaise said, and “are in a stage right now to … clear the formalities for commercial contracts and procurement.”

He said Arianespace is set to launch OQ’s first fully commercial satellite as part of its next Vega C mission, which was slated for November but is now targeting December through January.

All three of OQ’s initial satellites were built by Lithuania-based NanoAvionics.

They are part of slightly more than seven “Batch one” satellites, each the size of six cubesats, that OQ expects to have deployed by the end of 2023 to improve revisit rates.

The startup’s fundraising fully covers Batch one deployment, Qaise said, which would enable its constellation to visit the same area more than twice a day to relay data — depending on the region.

OQ has already reserved slots for launches next year, he added, and has plans for more than 60 spacecraft in total.

OQ also announced plans Sept. 1 for a subsidiary in Athens, Greece, and another in Al Khobar in Saudi Arabia as part of its expansion plans.  

The startup said its Saudi unit would host one of the Middle East’s largest 5G data and network operations centers. It will focus on engaging with large oil and gas companies in the region, which could use OQ’s network to monitor facilities without terrestrial connectivity.

The Greek subsidiary would be located within incubator facilities under the Athena Research Centre, which also hosts the Hellenic Space Technologies and Applications Cluster.