A Scottish space technology startup which is developing a technology to boost connectivity in remote areas is gearing up for international expansion after securing £3.1 million funding.

Glasgow-headquartered R3-1oT recently secured the cash in a seed investment round led by US-based VC Space Capital, joined by the Scottish National Investment Bank.

Other investors include the University of Strathclyde, alongside North American-based Ryan Johnson, former chief executive of BlackBridge, Nathan Kundtz, chief exectuive of Rendered.ai, and Loren Padelford, former general manager of Revenue at Shopify. Scottish Enterprise also becomes a shareholder and continues to support the company.

Led by space technology experts Allan Cannon and Kevin Quillien, R3 IoT addresses challenges organisations face in digitising business operations, products, and services due to a lack of, or unreliable communications infrastructure.  

Focused on the market gap underserved by the current space race, the satellite-enabled communications firm aims to provide value extending beyond connectivity. Its full-stack digital platform – combining satellite, cellular, IoT and data analytics – provides organisations with end-to end data services from any location, regardless of existing infrastructure.

Allan Cannon, chief executive and co-founder of R3-IoT said: “The funding round is clear recognition of the potential for our platform to broaden the reach of existing satellite technologies by focusing on what has been, up until now, the ‘missing piece’ in  digitisation.”   

“We have ambitious plans and are in a strong position to accelerate our international growth strategy and take advantage of the rapid advances in space communications and IoT technology, from our base in Scotland. The investment will drive continued innovation and commercialisation of our technology ahead of market launch and help establish North American operations, where we are already seeing strong demand.” 

The company’s expansion plans will also see 20 new roles created over the next eighteen months in its engineering, technical, sales and marketing functions. 

Chad Anderson, managing partner at Space Capital, a seed stage venture capital firm investing in the space economy said: “We immediately saw the opportunity with R3-IoT, which is essentially Nest for organisations with remote industrial facilities. This is the right company at the right time that will benefit tremendously from new backhaul capacity coming online through low-Earth orbit satellite communications.”  

“Scotland is the perfect testbed for this capability that will enable mission critical connectivity and we are thrilled to join the efforts of Allan, Kevin and the team at R3-IoT, supporting their growth into global markets where there is huge demand for their services.” 

R3-IoT’s technology wirelessly connects smart devices such as sensors – on, or offshore, automatically transmitting data via the cloud to an intuitive insights platform – helping organisations to remotely manage risks, improve efficiencies and digitise operations across multiple sites and locations. 

“As 90 per cent of the planet lacks traditional communications infrastructure, our mission has been to address this challenge by providing resilient data services coupled with analytics to produce insights that inform, automate and advance operations for customers in key industries worldwide,” added Kevin Quillien, chief technology officer and co-founder of R3-IoT. 

It is aimed at organisations who require resilient connectivity 24/7, and sectors – including aquaculture, utilities, infrastructure, digital health, emergency services and energy – with operations in remote areas that lack traditional communications infrastructure. 

Eilidh Mactaggart, chief executive of the Scottish National Investment Bank said: “This high growth business is at the forefront of improving connectivity via satellite and Internet of Things technologies, with the power to support multiple industries with data and analysis via satellite connectivity.” 

“R3-IoT has emerged from Scotland’s thriving innovation and technology ecosystem and the team has ambitious plans to double its workforce in Scotland as they grow its products and services.  The Bank is pleased to be investing alongside Space Capital, as well as Strathclyde University, from where one of the founders of R3-IoT graduated, demonstrating the strength of our home-grown talent.” 

The investment follows a successful 12 months for Glasgow-based R3-IoT, which has seen it triple headcount, named an Industrial Partner winner in OneWeb’s Innovation Challenge 2021, and graduate from the Creative Destruction Lab, a prestigious global programme where seed-stage companies seen as “massively scalable” are selected to participate. 

Jan Robertson, interim director of Growth Investments at Scottish Enterprise, said: “R3-IoT is an exciting young company with big global ambitions. Scottish Enterprise is proud to have helped it reach this milestone moment by providing it with an integrated package of support, including participation in our High Growth Ventures programme, and equity and grant funding through the Early Stage Growth Challenge Fund, and we look forward to working with the company as it goes from strength-to-strength.”

Professor Sir Jim McDonald, principal and vice-chancellor of the University of Strathclyde added: “It is wonderful to see an early-stage company such as R3-IoT, which has such firm Strathclyde roots, successfully concluding this seven-figure funding round with external investors. We look forward to following and supporting the company’s future successes as it expands and grows.” 

Advisers on the investment were US-based legal firm Wilson Sonsini and UK-based law firm Harper Macleod.