Swarm Technologies Moves Past Controversial Year

Swarm Technologies "SpaceBee" pico telecommunications satellite. Credit: Swarm Technologies.

Can you build an effective communication satellite the size of a grilled cheese sandwich? For the Internet of Things (IoT) marketplace, Swarm Technologies is out to prove it can.

My guest this week is Sara Spangelo, co-founder and CEO of Swarm Technologies. The company is noteworthy for its innovation in developing a communication satellite 1/4 the size of a traditional CubeSat, which is 10 cm x 10 cm x 10 cm. To put it another way, and as my guest put it, the size of a grilled cheese sandwich.

The company wants to build and launch 150 of these pico satellites, called SpaceBees, to create a global network to allow Internet of Things devices such as sensors in a farmers field, to send small amounts of data back to servers for processing. Currently the company has seven experimental satellites in orbit.

Swarm is less than two years old and it’s gotten more attention than perhaps they would have wanted. Last year could have been a company killing year for the startup as they ran afoul of the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) when they not only launched four of their satellites without an FCC license, they also performed unauthorized weather balloon-to-ground station tests, and unauthorized tests of satellite and ground station equipment.

They settled with the FCC, paying a whopping $900,000 fine, and they recently closed their Series A round of financing for US$25M. The company wants to put past mistakes behind them and build the company out with its innovative technologies.

Listen in.

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About Marc Boucher

Marc Boucher
Boucher is an entrepreneur, writer, editor & publisher. He is the founder of SpaceQ Media Inc. and CEO and co-founder of SpaceRef Interactice Inc. Boucher has 18 years working in various roles in the space industry and a total of 25 years as a technology entrepreneur including creating Maple Square, Canada's first internet directory and search engine.