Today, February 3, 2020, Kinéis announced it had raised 100 million euros, hitting its capital funding target. Participants in the round include CLS, CNES, Bpifrance, Thales, CELAD, BNP Paribas Développement, HEMERIA and other industrial and financial partner. The company will build out its ground infrastructure with 20 stations around the world and launch 25 small satellites in 2022. Also announced today was the appointment of Alexandre Tisserant as president of Kinéis.
The Kinéis architecture is based France’s one way Argus satellite data collection system launched over 40 years ago. Kinéis currently uses the Argus network with 7 operational satellites plus the recently launched ANGELS cubesat pathfinder.
Adding 25 new cubesats means more frequent revisit time to pick up data and two-way connectivity for updating devices. Each new satellite will weigh less than 30 kilograms and be equipped with an electric propulsion system for collision-avoidance and end-of-life deorbiting.
Investors in Kinéis represent a group of French high-tech and economic development interests along with vendors Thales and HEMERIA with a stake in the program. The company says it has met its initial service subscription targets and has 10,000 chipsets plus several hundred electronical modules already in stock and ready for shipment.
Kinéis has announced strategic partnerships with Objenious by Bouygues Télécom, Suez and the Wize Alliance. Bouygues Telecom is developing a LoRa-Kinéis hybrid solution while Suez and the Wize Alliance are integrating Kinéis into their smart water meters. The company is developing a beacon and mobile app for adventure tourists with a final product connected to COSPAS-SARSAT for emergency location expected by the end of the year.
While Kinéis can certainly claim it has raised the largest amount of financing to date within the new crop of satellite IoT players at around $111 million, with newcomer Skylo previously holding the title at $100 million in January 2020, time to orbit and time to market are bound to be factors towards the end of the year. Astrocast, Hiber, Kepler Communications, and Swarm Technologies all expect to have initial constellations in the sky by the end of 2020, leaving Kinéis anywhere from 12 to 24 months behind on full services and leaning on the legacy Argus satellites and one-way data architecture.
Another factor likely to affect Kinéis and others is the proliferation of LoRaWAN and NB-IoT satellite offerings, with satellites able to directly communicate with those devices on the ground. Hybrid devices using either standard will to be more expensive to operate and deploy than communicating with a stock LoRaWAN or NB-IoT device on the ground. Lacuna Space, Fossa Systems and Innova Space are among several companies in the LoRaWAN camp while Linq, OQ Technology, Sateliot and Lynk will support NB-IoT. Eutelsat could support both LoRaWAN and NB-IoT protocols.