Transcelestial, a Singaporean space-based laser communications startup, has closed $9.6 million in Series A funding co-led by Singapore’s government investment arm EDBI and Wavemaker Partners.
The round was joined by new investors Airbus Ventures, Partech, Tekton Ventures and Cap Vista, the investment arm of the Defence Science and Technology Agency of Singapore. Other early investors, Entrepreneur First, SEEDS Capital and two angel investors also reupped in the round.
Founded in 2016, Transcelestial is building a space laser network which aims to deliver faster, cheaper and more accessible internet connectivity globally. The long-term goal for the deep tech startup is to replace existing wireless technology which currently depends on fibre optic cables mostly built in the 1990s and 2000s.
About 95 per cent of the world’s internet needs are still served by undersea cable infrastructure, according to the firm. Global internet connectivity remains patchy at best with over 50 per cent of the world’s population either completely off the grid or connected with very poor internet access.
“One of the core motivations to start Transcelestial has been inspired by my personal experiences with internet access growing up in Jamshedpur. The first day at my university in Singapore, I experienced the content and collaboration that comes with high speed internet – it was revolutionary! We want to offer such an opportunity, experience and revelation upon everyone who wishes to push our civilisation faster and further,” shared Rohit Jha, CEO and co-founder of Transcelestial.
Transcelestial will use the fresh proceeds to ramp up the mass production of CENTAURI, a network device the size of a shoebox, to form a wireless distribution network between buildings, traditional cell towers, street-level poles and other physical infrastructure. These devices will be sold to telecom operators, vendors involved in the rollout of 4G and 5G networks as well as internet service providers.
“Transcelestial has created a patent-pending terrestrial laser communications system that can deliver over 10 gigabits per second even during heavy rains. What’s even more impressive is that the team achieved this in two years with only $1.8 million in seed capital by combining proprietary software with off-the-shelf hardware components,” shared Paul Santos, managing partner of Wavemaker Partners.
Over the next 12-18 months, Transcelestial will also be beefing its R&D space tech capabilities which will see the firm developing a constellation of small satellites flying in low earth orbit to deliver its ultra-high-speed network connectivity. The company targets to double its team size to over 30 people across its sales, product, partnerships and technical teams by the end of this year.