Samsung Invests In Sigfox’s Network For Connected Objects

Sigfox’s $115 million mega round has yet to close (€100 million). Today, Samsung announced at a press conference that the company invested in the French startup as well. The amount of this additional funding is undisclosed. And that’s not all. A source told me that two other companies also recently invested in Sigfox’s current round — one of them is a major tech player like Samsung. The company should make a public announcement in the coming weeks.

Today’s press conference was part of Samsung’s big tour to introduce its new platform for connected object, ARTIK. As a reminder, ARTIK is a hardware and software solution designed specifically for companies working on connected objects. Samsung will compete with Intel and Qualcomm by selling ready-to-use boards with all the sensors and chips you need.

“We made the decision to invest in Sigfox. But even more important, Sigfox is a partner,” Samsung President and Chief Strategy Officer Young Sohn said. In particular, ARTIK developer kits comes with a Sigfox-compatible hardware chip to work on Sigfox’s network out of the box.

French startup Sigfox is building a low cost, alternative cellular network for connected objects. It allows small connected objects to talk with Sigfox’s server with a very small battery and cheap hardware. For example, Weenat leverages Sigfox’s network to build live data farming sensors. These battery efficient, long-range devices couldn’t be as effective on a traditional cell network.

After heading Areva for 10 years, Anne Lauvergeon joined the company’s board in 2014. Rumor has it that she played an essential part in the company’s fundraising effort. And it’s true that Sigfox has had a different fundraising strategy. Instead of pitching VC firms, the company is working directly with carriers and big public companies, offering them an investment opportunity. Investors in Sigfox’s current round include Spanish, Korean and Japanese carriers Telefonica, SK Telecom and NTT DOCOMO, and French industrial giants GDF Suez (now Engie), Air Liquide and Eutelsat.

Samsung also announced today that the company is opening an innovation center in Paris focused on its cloud offering and various software-based activities. “We actually believe that there are tremendous technology efforts happening in France, and that Samsung can take advantage of them. So we will keep investing in France,” Sohn said.