Ondas Holdings raises further $47m in new stock offer to boost critical IoT push
US private cellular provider Ondas Holdings, parent of Ondas Networks, has issued more than seven million shares in a public offering to raise $47 million for “working capital and general corporate purposes”.
The move follows on the heels of a rush of stock activity from the Sunnyvale, California outfit, including a stock offering of five million shares at $6 each in early December last year, raising $30 million, and a delayed initial public offering (IPO) on the US stock exchange just days prior, in late November, that 2.9 million shares priced at $10.40 each go for a further $30 million.
Ondas Holdings previously filed to uplist on the New York Stock Exchange in April 2019. It withdrew its application in August of the same year, before going ahead with the IPO in November 2020.
Ondas Networks, formerly Full Spectrum, is offering wide-area private networks based on proprietary cellular for so-called mission critical IoT (MC-IoT), including to run in its own 700 MHz spectrum in certain regions in the US. It is targeting mission-critical users that require reliable and secure cellular, often across challenging geographic and radio terrains.
Notably, it is targeting railways, the aviation sector, energy utilities, oil and gas companies, and various government entities. Its FullMAX radio platform supports private cellular-based field-area broadband MC-IoT networks, which overcome the bandwidth limitations of “legacy private licensed wireless networks”, the company reckons.
Ondas Holdings struck a deal to acquire industrial drone developer American Robotics for $70.6 million in May. Its strategy is to provide users in the utility and industrial markets with “full-stack industrial IoT solutions”, including drone systems for industrial surveillance and maintenance.
American Robotics, founded in 2016 by roboticists from Carnegie Mellon and Stanford, is the first and only company approved by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to operate drones beyond-visual-line-of-sight (BVLOS) without a human operator on the ground, said Ondas Networks. Its drone platform (Scout System) will be integrated into its FullMAX private wireless offer.
The FullMAX system supports the new IEEE 802.16s standard for private industrial networks, pushed through by electric utilities and telecoms manufacturers as a modified frequency agnostic version of the old IEEE 802.16 WiMAX standard to operate in narrower channel sizes, from 100 kHz up to 1.25 MHz.
The IEEE 802.16s version, published in 2017, also claims reduced network overheads for max throughputs in narrower channels, compared with WiMAX, and also LTE, which both require channel sizes greater than 1.25 MHz — “which aren’t readily available to industrial users or are too costly”, according to Ondas Networks.
In February, Ondas Networks announced a deal with systems integration firm Rogue Industries to sell its MC-IoT platform to US government and defence markets, including for military drones and unmanned aircraft. The company said the pair will “leap-frog over commercial wireless technology [to] bring new [mission critical IoT] capabilities and applications” to US government agencies using various government spectrum bands.
The firm has a deal with Siemens to range its MC-IoT systems under the Siemens brand in North America, as part of the German firm’s offer to the railroad sector. Siemens has integrated radio technology from Ondas Networks in a new Siemens-branded portfolio of radio products, which include new dual-mode radios for both base station and wayside with its Advanced Train Control System (ATCS) protocols and Ondas Networks’ MC-IoT architecture.
Ondas Networks has contracts to deploy private LTE networks for at least two major railroads in North America. It has also deployed the final phase of a field trial with another Class 1 railroad, also using its FullMAX SDR platform in the 900 MHz frequency band, to meet growth in demand for capacity, along with the need for increased reliability and security.
Meanwhile, it is offering private wireless for mission-critical services in the State of Alaska and the Gulf of Mexico, plus certain adjacent counties. The State of Alaska and the Gulf of Mexico cover 900,000 square miles of surface area; Ondas Networks claims to have delivered private mobile and fixed wireless services in “large portions” – 700,000 people in 25,000 square miles of land – in record time.