Decentralized wireless communication startup Helium Inc. today announced a change of name to Nova Labs Inc. and confirmed it has raised $200 million in new late-stage funding.
The round, which is only official today, was first partially leaked in February. Tiger Global and Andreessen Horowitz led the Series D round with Seven Seven Six, Goodyear Ventures, Google Ventures, Liberty Global, NGP Capital, Pantera Capital, Ribbit Capital and Telekom Innovation Pool also participating.
The new funding was raised on a valuation of $1.2 billion. Including the new funding, Nova Labs has raised $368.4 million to date, according to Crunchbase.
Nova Labs will use the new funding to invest in the Helium ecosystem through hiring and funding additional development resources, driving continued wireless protocol support and building new applications on top of the Helium Network powered by cryptocurrency.
The name change, according to the company, provides a clear delineation of the company from the Helium Network, the Helium Blockchain, the Helium Token and the community of people who power the network and enterprises that run on it.
Founded in 2013, Nova Labs offers a peer-to-peer wireless network designed to simplify connecting anything to the internet by rewarding anyone to become a network operator. The company uses a blockchain-based model to empower people worldwide to become mini cell towers. By deploying hotspots, users are rewarded with the Helium Network’s native token.
Since launching in 2019, Nova Labs has enabled global “internet of things” and 5G networks that have created a new category of connectivity and given hundreds of thousands of people the opportunity to build the network from home and earn rewards. The incentive model 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, according to Nova Labs.
The numbers are impressive. The Helium Network surpassed a half-million hotspots earlier this year and today provides coverage in more than 51,000 cities across 168 countries.
Although it’s pitched at democratizing access, the Helium Network is not limited to individual users.
Nova Labs is working with Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., which is not only an investor but is also exploring ways to become an enterprise customer. Other companies working with the network include IoT and network industry leaders Actility S.A., Senet Inc., KORE Group Holdings Inc., Group X-TELIA Inc. and DISH Network Corp. who partnered with the network to use its coverage for enterprise customers. Enterprise customers currently using Helium Network technology include Volvo AB, Cisco Systems Inc., Schneider Electric SE, Accenture plc, Olympus Corp., One Planet, CareBand Inc., Hoopo, Invoxia and Victor.
“With Helium, 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,” Amir Haleem, founder and chief executive officer of Nova Labs, said in a statement. “Through Nova Labs, we are expanding our mission, pioneering a cultural movement toward the decentralization of all wireless protocols.”