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London Tech Week

Crypto startup Helium becomes a unicorn with $1.2B valuation after receiving $200M funding


Nova Labs (formerly Helium Inc) has just received $200M in Series D financing at a $1.2B valuation and has now joined the unicorn club.

The investment round was led by notable and strategic VC names including Tiger Global, Alexis Ohanian’s Seven Seven Six, Liberty Global (Vodafone and Virgin Media), NGP Capital (backed by Nokia), Deutsche Telekom’s strategic investment fund and Telekom Innovation Pool (TIP), just to mention a few.

“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. 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,” commented Alexis Ohanian, Founder of Seven Seven Six.

Helium Inc rebrands to Nova Labs

Owing to the Helium network’s explosive growth in recent years, the company, Helium Inc. opted to distinguish its corporate identity from the Helium Network brand, changing its name to Nova Labs.

Additionally, the Decentralized Wireless Alliance which is a community-run non-profit organization responsible for governing and maintaining the Network has taken on stewardship of Helium Inc’s brand assets and renamed the Helium Foundation. Under the stewardship of the Helium Foundation, the Helium name and brand can now be openly used by the ecosystem.

The Helium Network explained

Everyday common devices such as fitness trackers, street lights, fire alarms and door locks, among so many others, are increasingly requiring access to the internet to function. These devices require such low bandwidth that even if you shared your network with 50 IoT devices, buffering wouldn’t be an issue.

The potential for IoT devices remains exponential, however, these devices are increasingly relying on free WiFi or Bluetooth to be effective.

The Helium Network is a proof of coverage network that allows users to mine tokens by sharing their WiFi signal with the Internet of Things (IoT). The network’s users share a tiny amount of their WiFi bandwidth with IoT devices so that they can be located and connect with the rest of their network.

The cryptocurrency startup’s users just have to buy a LoRaWAN gateway to connect to the ‘People’s Network.’ The devices can connect up to 10 miles away, which is necessary for network validation. Once the machine is hooked up to the network, a user receives rewards in the native token, HNT. Like with any mining technology, there are plenty of websites that will estimate a user’s rewards.

Becoming Nova Labs

The recently rebranded entity, Nova Labs was founded as Helium Inc. in 2013 by Amir Haleem, Chris Bruce, Sean Carey and Shawn Fanning. The team experienced a lot of challenges and pivots as a startup working to bring our vision to life. In 2017 having been inspired by bitcoin, the team embarked on a bold journey to build a decentralized wireless network powered by crypto.

The Helium Network launched in 2019 in Austin, Texas, with an initial batch of Helium Hotspots. Fast forward to today and The Helium Network ( referred to as “The People’s Network”) comprises more than 682,000 Hotspots built by third-party manufacturers and operated by people around the world, from Silicon Valley to Kyoto.

The network has seen over 4,000% growth and is aiming to reach 1M hotspots before the end of 2022, with over 3.5M people waiting for delivery of a Helium hotspot.

The funding will fuel Nova Lab’s further investment in the Helium ecosystem. Additional development resources will be hired, the continued wireless protocol support will be accelerated as well as the development of new applications on top of the Helium Network.

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