Hiber secures €26m to develop satellite network

  • April 6, 2021
  • Steve Rogerson

Dutch satellite and communications start-up Hiber has secured €26m in EU and private investment to expand its global IoT satellite network.

The European Innovation Council Fund (EIC Fund), the EU’s innovation agency, has awarded Hiber a share of its €278m innovation fund, which will enable the EU to play a prominent role in the global space sector and enhance its autonomy. The EIC has co-invested with innovation credit provided by the Dutch government and existing shareholders.

Hiber’s in-house-developed satellite constellation makes it possible to track and monitor machines and devices for a wide range of IoT services in some of the world’s hardest-to-reach places. The funds will be used to expand the satellite network and grow its customer base.

“The €26m funding is a fantastic validation for Hiber’s success and a major boost for the European New Space sector,” said Coen Janssen, chief strategy officer at Hiber. “It is a key step in realising our aim of making the internet of things really simple and available for everyone in remote and developing regions of the world.”

Hiber was founded in 2016 to make IoT easier, especially in areas where there is no affordable cellular or wifi connection. Hiber’s scaling of the satellite network and IoT innovations could have significant positive impact on some of the biggest issues facing the world, from eliminating food wastage to reducing the environmental impact of extracting fossil fuels.

“Every year, 30 per cent of food production is lost or wasted and 33 per cent of oil wells experience leakages,” said Janssen. “Both problems can be addressed by using technology to monitor pressure, humidity or temperature. These are great examples of how space innovation can solve important global problems and improve lives.”

Hiber’s selection as one of three companies to receive the maximum investment from the EIC Fund is in recognition of the role it can play in supporting the EU’s agenda. The fund also targets the funding gap at the start-up and scale-up stage, where European venture capital market relatively underperforms compared with the global venture capital market.

“I am glad to announce the EIC Fund support to this highly innovative company aiming at creating a European champion in the satellite internet of things sector,” said Nicklas Bergman, EIC Fund committee member. “This equity financing will help Hiber to enable affordable and ubiquitous connectivity for the IoT.”

Elia Montanari, head of management and control at the European Space Agency, added: “This major success has been supported at European level by collaboration of major EU bodies (EIC, EIB, ESA) fostering the space value chain.”

Steven Kroonsberg and Roel Jansen are joining Hiber to take their position in the management team. Kroonsberg will take on the role of CFO having been former principal at Boston Consulting Group and CFO at WePayPeople. Jansen was vice president of sales at Survey Monkey and co-founder and CCO at Usabilla. His task as CCO will be to implement an IoT-as-a-service commercial model for the company.

Co-founder of Hiber, Laurens Groenendijk, will step aside as managing director to turn his attention to his other investment initiatives.

Established in 2020, the EIC Fund is an initiative of the European Commission to make direct equity and quasi-equity investments between €500.000 and €15m in European high impact and deep tech start-ups and scale ups.

Hiber is a start-up founded and led by a team of satellite experts and tech entrepreneurs. Its mission is to bring IoT to areas where there’s never been affordable cellular access or wifi.

In 2020, Hiber’s end-to-end subscription service for oil and gas well integrity monitoring became a reality under the name HiberHilo. In 2021, Hiber launched HiberHeavy, a subscription-based heavy equipment monitoring offering.

The company employs more than 60 people around the world and has offices in Amsterdam and Delft in the Netherlands, and Maryland in the USA.