Boeing invests in Australian startup Myriota

In a first non-US investment by Boeing’s venture fund, HorizonX Ventures, the company has announced investment in Adelaide-based start-up telecommunications company Myriota.

Myriota is an Internet of Things (IoT) startup seeking to revolutionise satellite communications by providing low-cost access to high-value data in remote locations.

Myriota’s technology enables two-way communications between ground-based micro-transmitters and low Earth orbit (LEO) nano-satellites to securely share data over narrow bandwidths, according to a statement by Boeing on Monday.

This direct-to-orbit platform enables applications across the logistics, defence, utilities, agricultural, environmental and maritime industries, where IoT connectivity via traditional means is extremely challenging and expensive.

Founded in 2015, Myriota builds on the work of its founders with the University of South Australia’s Institute for Telecommunications Research.

“We formed Myriota to solve a major connectivity problem: hundreds of millions of devices that need to communicate but don’t have cost-effective, battery-friendly networks to do so,” Myriota CEO Alex Grant said.

Boeing HorizonX Ventures participated in the US$15 million (AU$19.5 million) Series A funding round led by Australian firms Blue Sky Venture Capital and Main Sequence Ventures, which manages the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) Innovation Fund. Other investors include Right Click Capital and Singtel Innov8.

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Minister for Defence Industry, Christopher Pyne, welcomed the investment today, saying: “Investing in Australian startups and industry shows Australia’s capacity for competing on the world stage, and that Australia is open for business.”

“I commend Boeing for showing a willingness to invest in Australian industry. By doing so, they prove that the Australian defence industry is export ready,” Pyne said.

In September last year, Myriota and wearable technology company IMeasureU were selected from 47 quality industry and university applicants from across Australia and New Zealand to develop the equivalent of a Black Box for soldiers, known as the ‘Fight Recorder,’ which uses Myriota’s technology for emergency beaconing to locate and aid injured soldiers.

When fully developed, the Fight Recorder could provide benefits in other physically demanding occupations, including emergency services and law enforcement.

The Defence funding for this project came from the Next Generation Technologies Fund. The Fund complements the Defence Innovation Hub launched last year, as the core of the new Defence Innovation System outlined in the Defence Industry Policy Statement.

These two signature innovation research and development programs, together with the Centre for Defence Industry Capability, deliver on the Government’s $1.6 billion commitment to grow Australia’s defence industry and innovation sector.