Scottish satellite-enabled connectivity start-up R3-IoT has raised $4.3m (£3.1m) to accelerate the roll out of its satellite sensor and software technology.
The seed round was led by US-based VC Space Capital, joined by the Scottish National Investment Bank and the University of Strathclyde. Other investors include North American-based Ryan Johnson, former CEO of BlackBridge, Nathan Kundtz, CEO of Rendered.ai, and Loren Padelford, former GM of Revenue at Shopify. Scottish Enterprise also become shareholders and continue to support the company.
Led by space technology entrepreneurs Allan Cannon and Kevin Quillien, R3-IoT addresses challenges organisations face in digitising business operations, products, and services due to a lack of, or unreliable communications infrastructure through a full stack digital platform.
The company is aiming at a market gap it says is underserved by the current space race. The platform combines satellite links with cellular, IoT and data analytics to provide end-to-end data services from any location, regardless of existing infrastructure. R3-IoT’s technology wirelessly connects smart devices such as sensors – on, or offshore, automatically transmitting data to a cloud analytics platform.
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“As 90 percent of the planet lacks traditional communications infrastructure, our mission has been to address this challenge by providing resilient data services coupled with analytics to produce insights that inform, automate and advance operations for customers in key industries worldwide,” said Kevin Quillien, CTO and Co-Founder of R3-IoT.
"The funding round is clear recognition of the potential for our platform to broaden the reach of existing satellite technologies by focusing on what has been, up until now, the ‘missing piece’ in digitisation,” said Allan Cannon, CEO and Co-Founder of R3-IoT.
“We have ambitious plans and are in a strong position to accelerate our international growth strategy and take advantage of the rapid advances in space communications and IoT technology, from our base in Scotland. The investment will drive continued innovation and commercialisation of our technology ahead of market launch and help establish North American operations, where we are already seeing strong demand.”
The company’s expansion plans will also see 20 new roles created over the next eighteen months in its engineering, technical, sales and marketing functions.
Chad Anderson, Managing Partner at Space Capital, a seed stage venture capital firm investing in the space economy said, "We immediately saw the opportunity with R3-IoT, which is essentially Nest for organisations with remote industrial facilities. This is the right company at the right time that will benefit tremendously from new backhaul capacity coming online through low-Earth orbit satellite communications.
“Scotland is the perfect testbed for this capability that will enable mission critical connectivity and we are thrilled to join the efforts of Allan, Kevin and the team at R3-IoT, supporting their growth into global markets where there is huge demand for their services.”
“This high growth business is at the forefront of improving connectivity via satellite and Internet of Things technologies, with the power to support multiple industries with data and analysis via satellite connectivity,” said Eilidh Mactaggart, CEO of the Scottish National Investment Bank.
“R3-IoT has emerged from Scotland’s thriving innovation and technology ecosystem and the team has ambitious plans to double its workforce in Scotland as they grow their products and services. The Bank is pleased to be investing alongside Space Capital, as well as Strathclyde University, from where one of the founders of R3-IoT graduated, demonstrating the strength of our home-grown talent.”
The investment follows a successful 12 months for Glasgow-based R3-IoT, which has seen it triple headcount, named an Industrial Partner winner in OneWeb’s Innovation Challenge 2021, and graduate from the Creative Destruction Lab, a global programme where seed-stage companies seen as ‘massively scalable’ are selected to participate.
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