How does the hardware transfer the data?
“The hardware is a device of five by two centimeters. It has a modem, an antenna and is powered by a regular battery that can last up to five years. The messages that they broadcast are similar in length to tweets. The hardware passes them through our satellites. ”
Why don’t you use the existing satellites?
“They are very expensive, between 200 and 300 million euros, and are as big as a truck. Ours have the size of a shoe box and, including the launch, cost less than a million. We will launch two satellites in 2018. The constellation of our satellite network screens the entire surface of the earth at least once a day.”
How do you develop and launch your own satellite?
“The time investment is mainly in getting permission. The UN must agree. Therefore, the Dutch government helped us with audits and licenses. The European Space Agency, ESA, validates the satellite. Then a very expensive travel agency in the form of a broker is needed which literally sells the launch into space. ”
What was the biggest challenge?
“Heavy underestimation is the global aspect. We want to be on the same frequency all over the world and that is a hell of a job. No countries have said ‘no’ to the required UN license, but it may take years before we are actually being present in all countries. ”
When did you know that your idea was viable?
“At the end of last year we found out with ESA that the launch of our own satellite was technically feasible.”
Did the construction and development take a very long time?
“It went very fast. LPGAN is groundbreaking: instead of a technological perspective, we look from a commercial point of view. With my background in the aerospace sector (TU Delft), I know that the dynamics in the sector can be traditional. But it is in the same sector where my graduation project showed that it is possible to send a satellite to the moon in nine months. The establishment of Hiber was a logical next step. We started the LPGAN project in June 2016. ”
Who do you work with?
“Hiber’s core team has fifteen people. Our partners are Netherlands Space Office, Agentschap Telecom, ISIS, Hyperion, RPC Telecommunications and ESA. And of course our investors, including the founders, family and friends who have raised 3.5 million so far.”
What is the distinctive character of LPGAN for you? And what is the revenue model?
“The potential and combination of operating globally and with extremely cheap ‘low power’ hardware. The Indonesian fishermen together pay ten dollars a month. There is one dollar for our subscription. “
Do you have competitors?
“I prefer to think in terms of the complementary. For example, we have signed an agreement with Iridium – the world’s leading mobile satellite communications operator – in which we agree to jointly carry out innovative projects. It is better to strengthen each other than to get in each other’s way. ”
You have won the AIA in the Intelligent Enterprise category. How is your experience with that? What has it brought so far?
“We often receive invitations for similar events. We were recently in the top 50 of PwC, the top 50 of the European Parliament and in the top 10 of the Computable Awards. Participation in the Accenture Innovation Awards has brought us publicity and recognition for our company and brought us into contact with fellow pitchers “