LightReading: How Skylo is quietly succeeding in the phone-to-satellite race

Skylo is a relatively small startup in the direct to device (D2D) market. But it recently captured millions in new funding and an important new agreement with smartphone chipmaker Qualcomm.

Startup Skylo, founded in 2017 by a team from Stanford University's space lab, recently raised $37 million in funding from the likes of Intel Capital and Innovation Endeavors. That announcement came shortly after the apparent collapse of Skylo's first big customer, rugged smartphone maker Bullitt. But it also preceded chip giant Qualcomm's announcement that its new Snapdragon X80 5G modem would support satellite connections through Skylo's system.

Tarun Gupta, co-founder and chief product officer at Skylo, told Light Reading recently that the company's progress in the phone-to-satellite market is due to some prescient technology bets the company made in its early years. Specifically, Gupta said Skylo's founders settled on using NB-IoT transmission technology before it was officially incorporated into the 3GPP's Release 17 batch of specifications for phone-to-satellite communications.

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