Mangata raises $ 33M for hybrid satellite network

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Mangata Networks aims to put satellites in Medium Earth Orbit, or MEO; and highly elliptical orbits, or HEO. (Manga Graphic)

BELLEVUE, Washington. – Mangata Networks, a Phoenix-based startup with links to the Seattle area, has closed a $ 33 million investment round for an innovative type of satellite constellation for edge computing and connectivity.

The company received its seed funding in 2020 from Intellectual Ventures, based in Bellevue. Invention science background, what was it Endorsed by Microsoft Co-Founder Bill Gates and IV Co-Founder Nathan Myhrvold. Since then, that mutual fund has morphed into a Bay Area venture capital fund known as MetaVC Partners or Meta Venture Partners.

The idea behind Mangata Networks is to create an Earth-orbiting constellation with some satellites in highly elliptical orbit, or HEO, plus others in medium-Earth orbit, or MEO. Those satellites would optimize connectivity to a ground system of MangataEdge micro data centers, extending the power of cloud computing to perimeter networks that would be close to network users.

The recently announced Serie A round was led by Playground Global, which previously led Relativity Space’s $ 35 million Series B round in 2018. Other investors include Temasek, KTSat, Scottish Enterprise and Promus Ventures.

“We want to change the world, and that requires visionary investors and partners,” Mangata CEO Brian Holz said today in a press release. “These investors, whose cross-continental representation reflects our own global mission, are championing a new evolution in human connectivity.”

Mangata aims to start implementing terrestrial community networks from 2023, even before its first satellites are launched. That will give the company the opportunity to test connectivity for 5G, IoT and Wi-Fi networks in the 5G open innovation lab in Bellevue as well as other test sites in South Korea and Scotland. (NASA, Intel and T-Mobile created the 5G Open Innovation Lab in 2020.)

Although Phoenix is ​​the current headquarters of Mangata, the commercial director Jerome hewlett and his team are based in the Seattle area. The company also has offices in Denver, Singapore, Scotland and South Korea.

The current schedule calls for an initial launch of eight HEO satellites to pave the way for the start of service in the Northern Hemisphere in 2024. Eventually, the constellation would grow to 791 satellites providing worldwide coverage.

Mangata isn’t the only company moving forward with big plans for satellite-based data networks: SpaceX’s starlink network is considered the market leader, and other players include OneWeb, Amazon, Telesatellite, Boeing other Astra. in a 2020 interview with Space News, Holz said the HEO satellite setup would give Mangata an edge when it comes to scaling up service quickly.

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