Sigfox secures new funding, eyes rapid network expansion
Sigfox announced earlier this month it is closing a $160 million (150 million euros) funding round it intends to use on expansion of its low power wide area network. Companies including Salesforce, Total, Henri Seydoux, Alto Invest, Swen CP and Tamer Group joined existing shareholders Bpifrance, Elliott, Intel Capital, Air Liquide, Idinvest Partners and IXO in the latest funding round.
Sigfox says its LPWAN-based network currently covers 1.6 million square kilometers across 28 countries, though most of its coverage is provided by third-party operators like IoT Malta and Cellnex in Spain. Sigfox does claim to own and operate its network in France, Germany and the United States.
Allen Proithis, president of Sigfox North America, spoke about what the funding means for the company and where the companies sees itself within the ever-growing “internet of things” ecosystem.
“We are not competing with traditional operators in the U.S., we are complementary to them,” Proithis said. “That is like saying Domino’s is competing with Nordstrom – it is a whole different market. One size does not fit all, one size doesn’t even fit most. Anyone who tells you they are the one solution for everything is lying or fooling themselves. The one thing we are focused on is cost and energy efficient low-data IoT solutions. We are addressing a completely underserved market of assets and things – people want this connectivity, but can’t afford to do it with cellular.”
The new round of funding was set up so the company could expand its international network to 60 countries by 2018, and reach a financial breakeven point.
“Our rapid international expansion made possible thanks to the support of our local operators, as well as the growth of our ecosystem, were key to securing this new fundraising,” said Xavier Drilhon, deputy CEO of Sigfox. This will allow the company to accelerate the deployment of its network from 26 countries today to over 60 within the next two years, representing 90% of the worldwide [gross domestic product].”
Sigfox was founded seven years ago, and said it has more than 10 million objects registered on its network. According to Proithis, “IoT” doesn’t really exist, it is simply the combination of thousands of verticals, use cases, subverticals and specific things trying to be solved.
“One of the things that differentiates us from everyone else is we are a public network, not a private network,” Proithis said. “Public networks are very different. Eighty percent of deployment is based on very specific customer deals in the U.S. We have real customers with real things being deployed.”
Proithis said that in Western Europe there is an even mix of consumer and industrial enterprise applications, and that it’s hard to describe a use case that isn’t interested in IoT.