Helium, which is building a peer-to-peer wireless network, has raised $15 million in Series C funding. Union Square Ventures and Multicoin Capital led the round.
SAN FRANCISCO (June 12, 2019) –Peer-to-peer markets transformed outdated industries for the better, replacing them with new sharing economy models that changed the way we live and work. Now, the three technologists and long-time collaborators are joining forces to fix the antiquated 100-year-old telecommunications industry by launching the world’s first peer-to-peer wireless network to connect devices such as smart dog collars and wildfire sensors. The company is also announcing its $15M Series C round, bringing its total funding to $51M.
Low-bandwidth Internet of Things (IoT) devices often need network connectivity but can’t access Wi-Fi or afford expensive data plans designed for other high-bandwidth devices, such as iPhones. Helium solves this with the Helium Hotspot, an affordable wireless networking device that reaches 200 times farther than Wi-Fi thanks to open-source “LongFi” protocol and transmits data at a fraction of the cost than standard cellular plans.
Only 50-100 hotspots are needed to provide coverage for an entire city. Consumers across the U.S. can purchase hotspots to build a peer-to-peer wireless network operated by individuals – The People’s Network – that takes the IoT outside in a way that the traditional telecommunications can’t.
“Everyday things that we use shouldn’t need cellular plans,” says Amir Haleem, CEO and co-founder of Helium. “By creating the world’s first peer-to-peer wireless network that’s owned and operated by individuals, the Helium Hotspot opens the door to an ecosystem of possibilities that allow people to connect anything from pet collars and ride-share scooters to sensors that monitor air and water quality.”
Coinciding with the launch is the completion of Helium’s $15M Series C round co-led by Union Square Ventures and Multicoin Capital with participation from existing backers Khosla Ventures, GV (formerly Google Ventures), FirstMark and Munich Re Ventures. Previous investors also include Marc Benioff and Shawn Fanning.
Haleem teamed up with Shawn Fanning, the peer-to-peer pioneer and founder of Napster, and Chris Bruce, who founded and sold his IoT smart-baby monitor company Sproutling to Mattel, after the three met through Fanning’s startup, Rupture, which was acquired by Electronic Arts.
Co-founded by Shawn Fanning and Amir Haleem in 2013, Helium’s mission is to make it easier to build connected products. Helium is building the world’s first peer-to-peer wireless network to simplify connecting anything to the internet by rewarding anyone to become a network operator. CEO Amir Haleem comes from an extensive background in triple-A video games, and Vice President of Product & Technology, Chris Bruce, was Founder and CEO of Sproutling, the baby monitor startup that sold to Mattel in 2016. Helium is backed by GV (formerly Google Ventures), Khosla Ventures, FirstMark, Marc Benioff, Shawn Fanning, and other top VCs.