Korea’s Hanwha Programs is investing $ 30 million in a Kymeta antenna firm
Kymeta’s next generation antenna can be fitted on a vehicle to provide hybrid cellular-satellite connectivity. (Kymeta photo)
Hanwha Systems, a smart technology company headquartered in South Korea, has agreed to invest $ 30 million in Redmond, Washington-based Kymeta Corp. – with the aim of gaining a foothold in the market for antennas that can be connected to satellites, constellations in Earth orbit.
The participation agreement follows on from a $ 85 million financing round led by Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates in August. Gates has supported Kymeta since its launch as a next-generation antenna company in 2012.
Kymeta is in the middle of the commercial rollout of its latest connectivity offering, a hybrid cellular-satellite broadband service called Kymeta Connect.
The service is based on an innovative flat screen antenna called u8. Thanks to the electronics based on metamaterial, the Kymeta antenna can be pointed at satellites without moving parts.
Kymeta Connect currently uses satellites in geostationary earth orbit (GEO). However, the system can be updated to ensure compatibility with the broadband satellite constellations taking shape in low-earth orbit or LEO – including OneWeb, SpaceX’s Starlink, and Amazon’s future Project Kuiper constellation.
This fits in perfectly with the plans of Hanwha, a global conglomerate that operates in industries from telecommunications to aerospace to finance. Hanwha Systems Co. focuses on intelligent technologies in defense electronics and information infrastructure.
“The goal of our investment in Kymeta is to get an early entry into the LEO satellite antenna market and diversify our technology portfolio,” said Youn Chul Kim, CEO of Hanwha Systems Co., in a press release. “With the expertise of HSC’s world-class defense communications and radar technologies, we are partnering with this promising US satellite antenna company. All of these efforts will further strengthen HSC’s capabilities in the aerospace industry. “
Assuming that the investment agreement receives regulatory approval, Hanwha Systems will receive a seat on the Kymeta Board of Directors.
Kymeta said the new funding will help increase hardware production, improve system capabilities and customer experience, and “improve the company’s overall growth path.”
“Support from HSC will help us expand our reach and advance the development and production of our metamaterial-based antenna technology,” said Doug Hutcheson, Executive Chairman of Kymeta.
Like Kim, Hutcheson emphasized the prospect for broadband satellite services in near-earth orbit.
“LEO antenna solutions are preferred for latency sensitive and highly mobile applications as additional LEO satellites are launched and constellations are made available,” said Hutcheson. “Kymeta’s solutions work on existing GEO networks and can be updated with LEO. We look forward to working with HSC to develop technologies and solutions that are reliable and essential for communication on the go. “