Bill Gates Invests $78 Million in Satellite Antenna Firm Kymeta

Bill Gates Invests $78 Million in Satellite Antenna Firm Kymeta

HIGHLIGHTS
  • Kymeta sells pizza box-sized antennas for installation on cars, trains
  • Kymeta antennas mainly link with satellites in high orbital altitudes
  • It can link to remote places as well moving planes and vehicles

Bill Gates is leading satellite antenna firm Kymeta’s latest funding round with a $78 million (roughly Rs. 578 crores) investment, the company’s president told Reuters.

Redmond, Washington-based Kymeta, which sells pizza box-sized antennas for installation on cars, trains and boats, secured $85.2 million (roughly Rs. 633 crores) in capital. It plans to launch a monthly subscription service for satellite-based internet to government customers later this year, Kymeta President and COO Walter Berger said in an interview.

“The thesis here is to advance connectivity on a global basis. Cellular doesn’t do that,” he said.

Gates’ firm, which has invested in at least one other funding round, did not immediately return a request for comment.

Kymeta antennas mainly link with satellites in high orbital altitudes and can link to remote places as well moving planes and vehicles.

A range of companies, like Elon Musk’s SpaceX and Jeff Bezos’ Amazon, are building networks of satellites in low-Earth orbit, an expensive and high-risk endeavor that has sent satellite operator OneWeb into bankruptcy.

Kymeta’s funding round comes on the heels of acquiring satellite service provider Lepton Global Solutions, cementing a key government customer base and gaining access to 17 communications satellites in orbit.

The company plans to launch a satellite antenna bundle by the end of 2020 for $1,000 (roughly Rs. 74,303)  a month, Berger said.

Kymeta has been in discussions with various companies building low-Earth orbit satellite constellations, Berger said.