Nanosatellite startup Myriota raises US$15m


Myriota co-founders David Haley (CTO) and Dr Alex Grant (CEO)

Space tech startup Myriota, the 2017 Telstra South Australian New Business Award winner, has closed a US$15 million Series A funding round.

[Related: SMBs must leverage new technology and take cues from successful leaders to thrive today and “Rocket science is no easy feat”: Fleet’s CEO on paving the way for space startups in Australia]

The round was co-led by Main Sequence Ventures and Blue Sky Venture Capital, with additional contributions from Boeing HorizonX Ventures, Singtel Innov8 and Right Click Capital. Globally, it is the largest round to date for a startup using nanosatellite technology to connect Internet of Things (IoT) devices. It is also the first investment outside the United States for Boeing HorizonX Ventures.

Founded in 2015 as a spin-out from the University of South Australia, Myriota plans to use the funding to launch more nanosatellites, deliver revolutionary large-scale IoT deployments, and expand its global operations. In addition to opening new sales and customer support offices in North America and Asia, the startup plans to recruit at least 50 new staff, most of whom will be based at its headquarters in Adelaide. The expansion follows the recent announcement that Myriota will open a US$2 million Internet of Things Innovation Lab.

“The internet of things has a major connectivity problem: hundreds of millions of devices that need to communicate but don’t have cost-effective, battery friendly networks to do so – Myriota solves this problem,” said CEO Dr Alex Grant.

“The fact we have managed to engage such a stellar list of investors doesn’t just underline the quality of our tech and IP – it also gives us access to highly strategic resources and capabilities as we move to the next level. We are excited to have global investors like Boeing Horizon X and Singtel Innov8 supporting our mission to deliver the internet of things for everyone, everywhere.”

Atlanta Daniel, Investment Director with Blue Sky, said the investment in Myriota marked the first time the VC firm had dipped into its $50 million South Australian Venture Capital Fund.

“We’ve been impressed by Myriota’s global outlook from day one,” she said. “They’re proof that South Australia has exceptional entrepreneurs and world-class technology companies looking for investment. Over the past few months we’ve worked hard alongside Myriota to help the team secure foreign direct investment from North America and Asia.

“We’re excited to see this kind of global platform technology emerge from South Australia, where the team have effectively developed a new protocol for IoT communications, enabled by ‘New Space’ technology.”

Main Sequence Ventures Partner Martin Duursma said the deep tech venture fund views the Space 2.0 industry as a “tremendous opportunity” for Australian companies to be globally competitive in a high-growth industry.

“Myriota, as a part of that new industry, has developed world leading technology for unlocking the full potential of the Internet of Things with their direct to satellite communications platform,” he said.

“[The startup] is a great example of Main Sequence Ventures backing technology from the publicly funded research sector, fitting with our mission (under the National Science and Innovation Agenda) to ignite a new generation of epic companies from the spark of Aussie science.”

Boeing HorizonX VP Steve Nordlund said that Boeing HorizonX Ventures’ first investment outside of the US was “compelling” due to the nature of Myriota’s innovation.

“The Myriota team channelled its telecommunications expertise to develop a solution that simultaneously connects hundreds of millions of low-cost, low-powered transmitters to satellites,” he said.

Right Click Capital’s Ulric Ferner described Myriota as “a great example of a startup building fundamental infrastructure for the rapidly emerging and globally pervasive Internet of Things.” He added, “The founders have a deep connection to the problem they’re solving, the company is delivering results at incredible speed, and we are thrilled to back and welcome them into the broader Draper Venture Network portfolio”.