Salesforce and Intel Back IoT Startup Sigfox in $160M Funding Round

Friday Nov 18th 2016 by Pedro Hernandez
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The French company gathers two technology heavyweights in its bid to wirelessly connect IoT objects across the globe.

Sigfox, a wireless Internet of Things (IoT) connectivity company based in Labège, France, announced today it had raised €150 million or $159 million USD, in a new round of financing.

Notable among the batch of new investors that contributed to the Series E funding round is Salesforce. Following the fresh infusion of cash, Sigfox said it plans to integrate its technology with Salesforce's IoT Cloud. Other new backers include Total, Henri Seydoux, Alto Invest, Swen CP and Tamer Group. Intel reinvested in the firm, the latest in a string of technology investments from the chipmaker's venture capital arm.

Last month, the company announced its Intel Capital division had invested $38 million across 12 startups. They include Grand Chip Microelectronics, a Chinese provider of Wi-Fi front-end electronics for the IoT and WLAN environments.

Returning backers also include Air Liquide, Bpifrance, Elliott, Idinvest Partners and IXO.

Sigfox provides wireless connectivity to low-power devices used in machine-to-machine and IoT implementations. Currently, more than 10 million objects are pumping data across Sigfox's network, which spans 26 countries, claims the company. Intel also invested in Eazytec, a developer of smart city solutions.

The company expects the new funding will to help expand its network to 60 countries and break even within the next couple of years.

"Our rapid international expansion made possible thanks to the support of our local operators, as well as the growth of our ecosystem, were key to securing this new fundraising," said Xavier Drilhon, deputy CEO of Sigfox, in prepared remarks. "This will allow the company to accelerate the deployment of its network from 26 countries today to over 60 within the next two years, representing 90 per cent of the worldwide GDP."

Sigfox is betting that enterprises, seeking to bulk up their IoT capabilities, will ditch wired solutions using a network inspired by the stars.

"When we met in 2010, we agreed that Sigfox could change the world by bringing the virtual and physical worlds together through a new paradigm based on the fundamental principles of astrophysics," said Ludovic Le Moan and Christophe Fourtet, co-founders of Sigfox, in a statement. "Today, we have created the equivalent of the world's largest radio telescope for IoT. Our network is able to connect hundreds of billions of objects to the Internet through advanced radio techniques."

Pedro Hernandez is a contributing editor at Datamation. Follow him on Twitter @ecoINSITE.

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