French Internet of Things (IoT) firm Sigfox closed on €150 million ($159 million) in Series E funding from new investors Salesforce, Total, Henri Seydoux, Alto Invest, Swen CP, and Tamer Group as well as existing shareholders including Bpifrance, Elliott, Intel Capital, Air Liquide, Idinvest Partners, and IXO. There are also a few unnamed investors involved in this round to bring the total to $159 million.
The company, which uses a narrowband technology coupled with a standard radio transmission method called binary phase-shift keying (BPSK), says it plans to use the funding to expand its network to 60 countries by 2018 and breakeven financially. SigFox has said it will have its network deployed in 100 markets in the U.S. by year-end.
Critics say that Sigfox’s IoT growth is limited because some of its technology is proprietary. However, large manufacturers such as STMicroelectronics, Atmel, and Texas Instruments, have been making SigFox radios.
SigFox says that there are 10 million objects registered on its network, and that its coverage currently spans 26 countries.
Interestingly, Sigfox said it plans to integrate its technology with Salesforce’s IoT Cloud, which will make it possible for the company to offer its IoT customers the ability to track and analyze their IoT services.
Sigfox is just one of many IoT connectivity options. Ingenu also uses a proprietary technology called random phase multiple access (RPMA), and it operates 38 private networks around the globe. Low power wide area (LPWA) technology is also being used by many companies to build out networks. KPN has launched a LoRa network in the Netherlands, and SK Telecom and Orange have both said they will build nationwide LoRa networks.
Plus, many wireless operators around the globe are dedicating parts of their networks to IoT connectivity. Verizon has said it will deploy LTE CAT-M (also known as LTE Category M1) for IoT applications throughout its network by year-end.