LoRaWAN community boosted by $25-$60 million venture fund
Zurich-based Momenta Partners has launched a $25 million venture fund to foster startups and innovations in the low-power wide-area (LPWA) market, and specifically the LoRaWAN sector. The fund could stretch to $60 million, the company said.
Momenta Ventures makes early-stage investments in “connected industry” projects, led by partners in energy, manufacturing, buildings, transportation, and logistics. Investments in the new fund are from strategic stakeholders in the LPWA ecosystem.
Managing director Ken Forster said: “We are pleased to raise this new fund focused exclusively on LPWAN innovation and the LoRaWAN ecosystem. We believe the digital transformation of Connected Industry is in its infancy, and that LPWAN will be a key accelerator and enabler.”
Donna Moore, chief executive and chair of the LoRa Alliance, commented: “The LoRaWAN ecosystem, deployments and network operator growth continue to explode year over year. This new fund from Momenta demonstrates that the market is highly confident in the scale and the ROI that LPWAN, and specifically, LoRaWAN, delivers.”
There are over 100 LoRaWAN networks in operation, with 38 going live in 2018, a jump of 60 per cent on 2017. Around 80 million LoRaWAN devices have so far been activated on them, according to the LoRa Alliance. Flexibility as both a public and private LPWA technology is a “unique differentiator… compared with other LPWAN technologies,” it reckons.
It emphasised the scale of certain recent deployments at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona this week, notably American Tower’s LoRaWAN network in Brazil, and Orange’s nationwide coverage in France. American Tower is seeking to connect two million LoraWAN devices in Brazil. Over three million water meters will be connected in a single deal in France, after French water company Veolia appointed Orange to help digitise its water-related services in the country.
New regional specifications have been made available for Russia and Latin America. Besides, three new LoRaWAN specifications have been issued in recent months, each allowing over-the-air firmware (FOTA) updates. The specifications – for application layer clock synchronisation, remote multicast setup, and fragmented data block transport – allow users to perform FOTA upgrades in a standardised way, the LoRa Alliance said.
The LoRa Alliance took on 71 new members in 2018, saw a doubling of certified products, and a six-fold increase in specification downloads.