Operator iWire raises $34m to launch Sigfox in 12 markets in Africa, Asia, Middle East
Sigfox operator iWire Connect has raised $34 million in Series A funding to build Sigfox networks in 12 countries in Asia, the Middle East, and Africa. It has earmarked launches in Bangladesh and Sri Lanka in 2022. Launches in India, Bahrain, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Turkey, and Tunisia, among others, are also in its plans.
The new Series A funding comes from Abu Dhabi-based stock company Noor Capital, with major support from French public investment bank Bpifrance, which is providing a $25 million “long-term” investment loan as part of the bargain in the form of a ‘buyer credit’.
The funding is “dedicated” for rollout of Sigfox infrastructure in 12 new countries, and also on development of a subsidiary company, iWire Technologies, to produce IoT devices for Sigfox networks “on all five continents, with a particular focus on European and US markets”.
Dubai-based iWire, launched in 2018, has raised $47 million “over the past three years”, including the latest $34 million investment. Its network in the United Arab Emirates went live in 2019. The new $25 million loan is for capital expenditure; the remaining $9 million investment is for operational expenditure, said Sigfox.
The strategy for iWire is to develop IoT products for sale through global distribution channels. It wants its own networks, in multiple territories, to build economies-of-scale into its own operation. It is looking to produce Sigfox-connected utility meters, gas sensors, health watches, smart ID tags, smoke detectors, container trackers, and street-lighting solutions, it said.
The company listed “high-volume industries” including “smart utilities, smart cities, smart facilities, digital health, and smart logistics” for its airtime and devices. A press statement quoted an unnamed analyst company that the IoT market will be worth $1.2 trillion by 2025, from $200 billion today. Sigfox claims 17 million connected devices and 70 million messages per day on 72 networks around the world.
Ahmed Fasih Akhtar, chief executive at iWire, said: “We offer an alternative to legacy connectivity solutions, which enables successful digital transformation at a lower cost of ownership… This investment is only the beginning of our journey and a great sign that we are on the right track. We are proud to have the trust of such an investor and we will continue expanding our network and our products to transform the digital infrastructure in the region.”
Jeremy Prince, chief executive at Sigfox, commented: “The new markets iWire is adding offer tremendous potential and we look forward to a very successful collaboration.”