Founder leaves satellite company Hiber as it confirms €26m i

Founder leaves satellite company Hiber as it confirms €26m investment

30 March 2021 | Alan Burkitt-Gray

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Just Eat sandwich bar founder Laurens Groenendijk has left satellite company Hiber, where he was co-founder and managing director.

Hiber said that he has stepped down to focus on his investment activities, which include, according to LinkedIn, Chinese transport hire company Didi Chuxing as well as cryptocurrency firm Blockchain.com.

Hiber has hired Roel Jansen, former VP of sales at SurveyMonkey, as chief commercial officer to join co-founder Coen Janssen, chief strategy officer, and Steven Kroonsberg, who became CFO last October, joining from a payroll administration company.

At the same time Hiber has confirmed an announcement from March 2020 that it has secured €26 million in EU and private investment to expand its internet of things (IoT) satellite network.

The European Innovation Council Fund (EIC Fund), the EU’s innovation agency, has awarded Hiber a share of its €278 million innovation fund, which will enable the EU to play a prominent role in the global space sector and enhance its autonomy.

The EIC made its decision last year, and formally announced its intention to award money to Hiber grant, among a number of other companies, on 6 January 2021.

The EIC has co-invested with an innovation credit provided by the Dutch government and existing shareholders. A spokeswoman for Hiber told Capacity: “The funding total has now been finalized and is much bigger due to extra investments from private parties.”

Janssen said: “The €26 million funding is a fantastic validation for Hiber’s success and a major boost for the European ‘New Space’ sector. It is a key step in realising our aim of making the internet of things really simple and available for everyone in remote and developing regions of the world.”

Nicklas Bergman, EIC Fund committee member, commented: “I am glad to announce the EIC Fund support to this highly innovative company aiming at creating a European champion in the satellite internet of things sector. This equity financing will help Hiber to enable affordable and ubiquitous connectivity for the IoT solutions.”

Hiber said last year that it had set up a subscription-based satellite network, HiberHilo, to let oil and gas companies monitor their wells and other plant.

“This technology can be installed in less than two hours and within 0.25% accuracy levels of a traditional wired system, which is extremely reliable,” said Janssen last year.

Hiber said it will charge from US$449 a month per well, for one sensor on a five-year contract. But the system can connect up to 500 sensors and has six years of battery lifetime when sending one message per hour, with each message containing four data points.