goTenna Raises Series A and Announces Exclusive Nationwide Retail Launch to Keep Adventure Seekers Connected When Off The Grid
Conceived of during Hurricane Sandy, female co-founded company skyrockets from non-existence to the shelves of America’s largest consumer co-op in under 18 months
Today goTenna — the award-winning device enabling smartphone users to communicate without cell towers, wifi routers or even satellites — announced a $7.5 million Series A led by Walden Venture Capital, joined by MentorTech Ventures, BBG Ventures (a subsidiary of Verizon), and Bloomberg Beta. The round also includes Wareness.io, a strategic fund focused on hardware; Kenneth Horowitz, a founder of Cellular One (acquired by AT&T) and pioneer in the cellular industry; and Howard Finkelstein, who ran data and telecommunications businesses for John Kluge’s Metromedia Company. With the new financing, goTenna intends to grow its team and product pipeline, in order to meet demonstrated demand in new markets where central connectivity often fails.
“goTenna is a breakthrough communication company that lets people securely communicate even if the grid is down or never existed,” said Larry Marcus, a partner at Walden Venture Capital. “The company has a tenacious team with a bold vision to create a parallel off-grid network. It is a true mass market opportunity. Today it already applies to a broad range of enterprise and government applications as well as consumers who enjoy crowded events, outdoor adventures, travel, and being prepared for emergencies.”
goTenna, while previously only available for purchase online via the company’s website, is also announcing the device has launched into retail nationwide exclusively at REI, the nation’s largest consumer co-op and specialty outdoor retailer. Tens of thousands of users have already benefited from goTenna since it started shipping in October, and a significant number of them have relayed an improved experience while engaging in outdoor activities -- whether that’s hiking, rock-climbing, camping, mountain biking, fishing, or adventure traveling. goTenna will be available in all REI locations, as well as on REI.com.
“goTenna’s technology gives our members the ability to connect with fellow adventurers who also have a goTenna device for coordination when outside a network,” said Egan Whitley, REI category merchandising manager. “goTenna is an innovative solution for groups and friends who still want to stay in touch via text during their outdoor adventures.”
“I so admire REI’s socially responsible and successful approach to retail, as we, too, seek to build a scalable, people-powered business,” said Daniela Perdomo, goTenna’s co-founder and CEO. “goTenna empowers its users to create connectivity anywhere they go, on their own terms. goTenna is really more about enabling you to focus on the adventure at hand, rather than the technology in your hand.”
To learn more about goTenna, please visit gotenna.com. goTenna is sold in pairs for $199 and is compatible with iOS and Android devices. To find an REI store location nearest you, please visit rei.com/stores.
Based in Brooklyn, goTenna is a hardware startup founded by siblings Daniela and Jorge Perdomo, who came up with the idea after Hurricane Sandy when over a quarter of cell towers were downed and power went out, cutting access to wifi and cell service for people in the 10-state area affected by the storm. Beyond an emergency situation, the use-cases became apparent everywhere: hiking in remote areas, traveling, attending crowded music or sporting events, living in rural areas, and even communicating privately. The company’s goal is to empower people to communicate directly using the phones they carry around every day, without having to rely necessarily on central connectivity. The company’s first product is aimed at consumers, though goTenna aims to tackle institutional and emerging markets next in its effort to redefine communication according to need as opposed to access. To learn more, please visit gotenna.com.
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