Startup OQ Technology raises $13 million to expand IoT network via satellite
TAMPA, Fla. — Luxembourg-based startup OQ Technology said Sept. 1 that it has raised about $13 million for its planned constellation of satellites to connect Internet of Things (IoT) devices.
The Series A funding round was co-led by the venture capital arm of Saudi oil and gas company Aramco and a fund managed by Greek investor 5G Ventures.
OQ and CEO Omar Qaise said the proceeds would fund future satellites and help the company expand internationally, particularly in Luxembourg, Saudi Arabia and Greece.
The startup has two demonstration satellites in orbit, which Qaise said showed potential customers how its technology is compatible with devices running 5G protocols.
“We have memorandums of understanding with these customers,” Qaise said, and “we’re currently in a phase to…clear the paperwork for commercial contracts and purchases.”
He said Arianespace is set to launch OQ’s first fully commercial satellite as part of its next Vega C mission, which was scheduled for November but is now targeting December through January.
The first three OQ satellites were built by Lithuanian company NanoAvionics.
They are part of just over seven “Batch one” satellites, each the size of six cubesats, that OQ plans to have deployed by the end of 2023 to improve revisit rates.
The startup’s fundraising fully covers the deployment of the first batch, Qaise said, which would allow its constellation to visit the same area more than twice a day to relay data – depending on the region.
OQ has already booked slots for next year’s launches, he added, and plans more than 60 spacecraft in total.
OQ also announced plans Sept. 1 for a branch in Athens, Greece, and another in Al Khobar, Saudi Arabia as part of its expansion plans.
The startup said its Saudi unit will host one of the largest data and 5G network operations centers in the Middle East. It will focus on engagement with major oil and gas companies in the region, which could use OQ’s network to monitor facilities without terrestrial connectivity.
The Greek subsidiary would be located in the incubator facilities of the Athena Research Center, which also hosts the Hellenic Space Technologies and Applications Cluster.