The venture capital arm of Boeing, the world's largest aerospace company, has invested in Australian satellite firm Myriota.
Myriota is currently developing low cost, low power transmitters which aim to connect millions of IoT devices to satellites in orbit.
The company started its journey as a $12 million project out of the University of South Australia back in 2011. At the time, it was known as the Australian Space Research Program.
After the need for IoT connectivity was identified, the project was turned into a full company in 2015. Its team is 11-strong and retains key personnel from the original project. The startup plans on adding at least 20 further members of staff over the next couple of years.
Boeing’s investment marks its first outside the US market. The $15 million round was led by Australian venture capital firms Blue Sky and Main Sequence, and funds were also raised from Singtel Innov8 and Right Click Capital.
Myriota launched the first iteration of their technology aboard a nanosatellite from ExactEarth which tracks maritime activities.
From this initial deployment, the company's researchers conducted several experiments to stress test how their solution would scale. The firm claims it's able to support hundreds of millions of devices.
Building on this momentum, the firm is now looking to deploy 50 of its own nanosatellites in low orbit. Each will be around the size of a shoebox and weigh just 10kg.
These launches may face a difficult obstacle in the form of national regulators. One manufacturer in the U.S, Swarm Technologies, is currently facing scrutiny from the FCC after the unauthorised launch of four satellites in January.
Myriota is already working alongside the relevant agencies in Australia to ensure their launch does not result in the same problems as Swarm Technologies.
SpaceX was set to be Myriota’s launch partner with it first satellite due to be on-board a Falcon 9 rocket back in February. That launch was delayed until the middle of this year. Myriota is keeping its options open and may decide to go with a different launch provider.
With a study from Machina Research indicating the IoT market will surge to around $3 trillion in 2025, time is of the essence for startups like Myriota to secure their slice of the pie.
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