MQTT provider and LPWA rival Thingstream snapped up by u-blox for $10.4m
Swiss IoT company u-blox has bought UK-based Thingstream, which offers low power wide-area (LPWA) IoT connectivity based on the MQTT lightweight messaging protocol. The sale closed for at CHF 10 million (€9.5m / $10.4m), plus coverage for some deferred staff retention.
MQTT, short for message queuing telemetry transport, is designed for constrained environments with low power and low bandwidth requirements. MQTT for sensor networks (MQTT‑SN) is tailored for sensor-based IoT environments.
Thingstream’s MQTT service, available with a management platform as-a-service bundle, offers data transfers by transmitting MQTT‑SN messages over 2G, 3G, LTE, and LTE‑M networks, making it a global service. It works with 600-odd telecom carriers in 190 countries without necessitating a cellular data plan.
It is presented as an infrastructure-free alternatve to LPWA technologies like Sigfox, LoRaWAN, and NB-IoT for asset tracking and condition monitoring in logistics and supply chain disciplines, and in related industries such as manufacturing, agriculture, energy, oil and gas, and mining.
Thingstream, also headquartered in Geneva, has been adopted by “numerous enterprises across the globe”, the company said. It shares a number of partners with u-blox, as well. The alliance covers 26 staff in the south of England, with long experience in the telecoms space.
It will enable the pair to capture market share in the global IoT market, they said.
Thomas Seiler, chief executive at u‑blox, said the deal “accelerates u‑blox’s entry into a new dimension” of its services business. “Our customers can focus on scaling their business rather than the complexities of acquiring and establishing a connectivity platform and maintaining the data flow management,” he said.
“We continue our prudent investment strategy of quickly integrating small high‑tech companies with promising future value… Many of our existing 7,000 global customers will really benefit from this fantastic service given it removes all the barriers to getting data from their devices into the cloud.”
Philipp Bolliger, chief executive at Thingstream, said: “By joining our business with u-blox we are further able to accelerate the rollout of our best-in-class, low-cost, low-power and global IoT communication-as-a-service solution. This in turn enables customers to fast track their IoT deployments with a predictable cost and reliability.”
Thingstream had received investment previously from Zurich-based early-stage investment firm Momenta Ventures, which has invested heavily in the LoRaWAN movement.
The company launched a range of ‘PoC-in-a-Box’ kits to enable enterprises to rapidly validate IoT business cases towards the end of last year (pictured). They combine the disparate technical components such as physical device, connectivity, data management and dashboard along with training and outcome analysis package.