- Helium Inc., Now Nova Labs, Announces $200M Series D from Tiger Global, Andreessen Horowitz (a16z), NGP Capital, Deutsche Telekom, Goodyear Ventures, and Seven Seven Six to Bring Decentralized Wireless Connectivity to the Masses
- Strategic partners including NGP Capital (backed by Nokia), Goodyear Ventures, Liberty Global (Virgin Media & Vodafone) join as demand for a crowdsourced, incentive-based alternative to cellular heats up
- Company looks to continue development of decentralized IoT and 5G wireless networks
SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (March 30, 2022) -- Helium Inc., the pioneer of decentralized wireless communications, today announced a new name and a $200M Series D equity round led by Tiger Global and Andreessen Horowitz, with participation from Seven Seven Six, Goodyear Ventures, Google Ventures, Liberty Global, NGP Capital (backed by Nokia), Pantera Capital, Ribbit Capital, and Deutsche Telekom's strategic investment fund Telekom Innovation Pool (TIP). Learn more at nova.xyz
To reflect its core philosophy of decentralization, Helium Inc. has renamed itself Nova Labs. The move provides a clear delineation of the company (Nova Labs) from the Helium Network, the Helium Blockchain, the Helium Token ($HNT), and the community of people who power the Network and enterprises that run on it.
With the new funds, Nova Labs will invest in the Helium ecosystem through hiring and funding additional development resources to improve the Network; driving continued wireless protocol support, and building new applications on top of the Helium Network powered by cryptocurrency. The company will also invest in growing the Nova Labs team, and working towards a decentralized future of wireless connectivity.
“With Helium Inc. we built the foundation for the world’s first decentralized wireless network, leveraging the power of blockchain to democratize access to the internet at a global scale,'' said Amir Haleem, founder and CEO of Nova Labs. “Through Nova Labs, we are expanding our mission, pioneering a cultural movement towards the decentralization of all wireless protocols, and we’re grateful to Tiger Global, a16z, Goodyear Ventures, and others for backing our vision.”
Scaling up the sharing economy of decentralized wireless networks
Millions of people worldwide are caught on the wrong side of the digital divide with limited, unreliable, or even no internet access. With traditional methods of wireless infrastructure deployment being expensive and slow, it’s impossible to rely on big telecommunications companies to provide coverage. That’s where a decentralized wireless industry becomes a key component of addressing this global issue.
Since the launch of the Helium Network in 2019, Nova Labs has enabled global IoT and 5G networks that have created a new category of connectivity and given hundreds of thousands of everyday people the opportunity to build the Network from home and earn rewards.
The company’s blockchain-based model empowers people around the world to become a mini cell tower by deploying Hotspots and rewarding them in the Helium Network’s native token, $HNT, for providing coverage. This incentive model originally created by Nova Labs has enabled the Helium ecosystem to build wireless infrastructure faster – more than 4,000% growth in a little over a year – than big telecommunication companies at a fraction of the cost. The Helium Network launched in 2019 and earlier this year surpassed half a million Hotspots, and today provides coverage for over 51,000 cities across 168 countries.
“Nova Labs enabled the technology to decentralize wireless, while providing a blueprint for leveraging crypto and blockchain to scale real-world infrastructure at an incredible pace,” said Evan Feinberg, Partner, Tiger Global. “We are proud to support Nova Labs in pioneering this effort.”
“In two years since its launch, the Helium Network has completely upended the wireless industry by putting the power of connectivity in the hands of the people,” said Alexis Ohanian, Founder of Seven Seven Six. “Nova Labs is a prime example of how new incentive models can drive real change, and we’re excited to see what they introduce next.”
Nova Labs’ ability to scale wireless infrastructure has been recognized by leading brands including Goodyear, who is not only an investor but is also exploring ways to become an enterprise customer. Goodyear joins IoT and network industry leaders including Actility, Senet, Kore, X-TELIA and DISH who partnered with the Network to use its coverage for enterprise customers including, Volvo Group, Cisco, Schneider Electric, Accenture, Olympus, One Planet, Careband, Hoopo, Invoxia, Victor, and others.
“The remarkable growth of the Helium Network over the past year is a testament to the demand for a decentralized wireless network,” said Upal Basu, Partner at NGP Capital. “When technology is used in the service of a powerful idea, boundaries disappear, and the potential is limitless. Nova Labs is leading the way into a new era of people-centered solutions.”
“For twenty years, the wireless industry has been searching for a way to build networks in a democratic way, but the cost to coordinate among hundreds of thousands of peers always proved overwhelming. The approach Nova Labs has pioneered is one that can truly lead us towards a future with ubiquitous connectivity,” said Rohini Chakravarthy, Managing Partner of NewBuild Venture Capital and formerly of NGP Capital. “The growth of the Helium Network is a testament to the value they provide to independent network operators and mobile data users.”
“Nova Labs is revolutionizing the way enterprises connect to the internet, unlocking new levels of efficiency through ubiquitous coverage provided by the Helium Network,” said Abhijit Ganguly, Managing Director, Goodyear Ventures. “At Goodyear we are committed to putting technology into motion, and we can’t wait to see what we can accomplish with Nova Labs and the Helium Network.”
The news comes after a breakout year for the Helium Network. In 2021, the Network made history as the fastest-growing wireless network growing from 14,000 Hotspots to 500,000 in just 12 months. The community approved the expansion of the Helium Network into 5G, and partnered with FreedomFi to begin deployment. In the first public-private partnership of its kind, the company partnered with the City of San Jose to leverage the company’s incentive model to cover the cost of internet plans for 1,300 low-income families in the heart of Silicon Valley, working to close the digital divide.
For more information on Nova Labs and the Helium Network visit nova.xyz
About Nova Labs
Co-founded by Shawn Fanning and Amir Haleem in 2013, Nova Labs (formerly Helium Inc.) is the pioneer of decentralized wireless communications and the founding team that launched the core technologies powering the Helium Network. Nova Labs is backed by Andreessen Horowitz, FirstMark, Goodyear Ventures, GV (formerly Google Ventures), Khosla Ventures, Liberty Global, Multicoin Capital, NGP Capital (backed by Nokia), Pantera Capital, Ribbit Capital, Seven Seven Six, Tiger Global, Union Square Ventures, Marc Benioff, Shawn Fanning and other top VCs. Nova Labs remains dedicated to building critical network infrastructure to support the decentralization of wireless on a global scale and supporting the advancement of the Helium Network that today serves over 51,000 cities around the world. More information can be found at nova.xyz