Swarm raises $25M for space-based IoT network

Ben Longmier and Sara Spangelo
Swarm Technologies was founded by chief technology officer Ben Longmier and CEO Sara Spangelo, who is holding one of the company’s super-miniaturized SpaceBEE satellites. (Swarm Technologies Photo)

A year after making a $900,000 mistake, Swarm Technologies is raking in $25 million in a funding round aimed at getting a constellation of sandwich-sized satellites up and running for the Internet of Things.

Getting the constellation in orbit could open up a big frontier for tiny satellites within the next year and a half.

“We’re just excited to get launched and get our network up there and start offering global, affordable internet,” said Swarm CEO Sara Spangelo, a veteran of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and Alphabet’s X “moonshot factory.”

The satellites, known as SpaceBEEs, are so small that the Federal Communications Commission turned down the Silicon Valley startup’s application for a launch license last January. The mission went ahead anyway — largely because Seattle-based Spaceflight, the company that was taking care of the logistics for liftoff aboard an Indian PSLV rocket, didn’t know Swarm’s application had been rejected.

Last month, Swarm agreed to pay the FCC’s hefty fine, submit to closer oversight for the next three years and draw up a detailed plan for compliance with the agency’s rules. “It’s probably sufficient to say we take all compliance issues very seriously,” Spangelo told GeekWire.

Get the full story on GeekWire.

By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributor to GeekWire and Universe Today, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," past president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing.

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