Another satellite company emerges, this time in Australia

Myriota has recently completed a Series B funding round led by Hostplus and Main Sequence Ventures, raising AUS$28 million in the process.

Specialising in low-cost and low-power satellite connectivity for the Internet of Things (IoT) industry, Myriota has now raised AUS$50 million to date. The team can now list off several high-profile investors, including the South Australian Venture Capital Fund, Singtel Innov8 and Boeing HorizonX.

That said, the most interesting name on the list is former Prime Minister of Australia Malcolm Turnbull.

“This is a critical time for IoT. Presently, 90% of the Earth’s surface lacks connectivity,” said Myriota CEO Alex Grant. “At Myriota, we’ve been focused on filling that gap and overcoming constraints in existing infrastructure. With this new round of funding, we’ll continue to grow our network of satellites to deliver an affordable, environmentally friendly, and powerful solution to make data accessible for our global customer base.”

The business model for Myriota is to focus on segments of the IOT world which might be considered less interesting to other connectivity providers. These applications, such as keeping tabs on weather stations, are low yielding though Myriota could certainly carve itself a niche.

Myriota claims to have pioneered a new way to retrieve data from anywhere on Earth through the connectivity between its constellation of satellites and low-power IoT modules, enabling it to build a business designed for low-yielding segments of the technology world. However with a smaller constellation than other satellite companies, it will seemingly rule itself out for services and customers who rely on more time and data-intensive operations.

With the new funds, the Myriota management team has said it plans to increase its constellation of satellites to 25 by 2022, and to increase the headcount of the business by 50% over the same time.

Waymo bags 62k minivans for self-driving service

Waymo has expanded its partnership with Fiat Chrysler agreeing to add up to 62,000 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivans to its self-driving transportation service.

The service, which Waymo plans to launch at the end of the year, will allow the public to use Waymo’s app to request a vehicle will make use of the vehicles, though there is also the potential to make the vehicle available to retail customers. The partnership itself dates back to 2016.

“Waymo’s goal from day one has been to build the world’s most experienced driver and give people access to self-driving technology that will make our roads safer,” said John Krafcik, CEO of Waymo. “We’re excited to deepen our relationship with FCA that will support the launch of our driverless service, and explore future products that support Waymo’s mission.”

“FCA is committed to bringing self-driving technology to our customers in a manner that is safe, efficient and realistic,” said Sergio Marchionne, CEO of Fiat Chrysler. “Strategic partnerships, such as the one we have with Waymo, will help to drive innovative technology to the forefront.”

The Waymo/Google vision is to ‘help people get from A to B at the push of a button’, but is also another excellent example of the company’s ability to persist with investment, keeping an eye on the long-term horizon. Just like the Maps offering and investments in artificial intelligence, there is no immediate gratification in autonomous vehicles, but the team is persisting.

Of course, for those who would not be seen dead in a minivan, the Waymo team has got you covered. Back in March Waymo announced another partnership with Jaguar Land Rover to develop a premium electric fully self-driving vehicle for the transportation service. Up to 20,000 I-PACEs will be added to the fleet, which we can only imagine is for the type of person who deems themselves too important to take the bog-standard Uber service.