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Helium Is Creating a Peer-to-Peer Wireless Network Because Smart Dog Collars and Wildfire Sensors Shouldn’t Require Cellular Plans

Early Twitter, Coinbase, and Twilio investor Union Square Ventures and Multicoin Capital co-lead $15M round as company launches the Helium Hotspot that reaches 200 times farther than Wi-Fi

San Francisco, CA, US – WEBWIRE

Peer-to-peer markets transformed outdated industries for the better, replacing them with new sharing economy models that changed the way we live and work. Now, three technologists and long-time collaborators are joining forces to fix the antiquated 100-year-old telecommunications industry by launching the world’s first peer-to-peer wireless network to connect devices such as smart dog collars and wildfire sensors. The company is also announcing its $15M Series C round, bringing its total funding to $51M.

Low-bandwidth Internet of Things (IoT) devices often need network connectivity but can’t access Wi-Fi or afford expensive data plans designed for other high-bandwidth devices, such as iPhones. Helium solves this with the Helium Hotspot, an affordable wireless networking device that reaches 200 times farther than Wi-Fi thanks to open-source “LongFi” protocol and transmits data at a fraction of the cost than standard cellular plans. Only 50-100 hotspots are needed to provide coverage for an entire city. Consumers across the U.S. can purchase hotspots to build a peer-to-peer wireless network operated by individuals - The People’s Network - that takes the IoT outside in a way that the traditional telecommunications can’t.

“Everyday things that we use shouldn’t need cellular plans,” says Amir Haleem, CEO and co-founder of Helium. “By creating the world’s first peer-to-peer wireless network that’s owned and operated by individuals, the Helium Hotspot opens the door to an ecosystem of possibilities that allow people to connect anything from pet collars and ride-share scooters to sensors that monitor air and water quality.”

Coinciding with the launch is the completion of Helium’s $15M Series C round co-led by Union Square Ventures and Multicoin Capital with participation from existing backers Khosla Ventures, GV (formerly Google Ventures), FirstMark and Munich Re Ventures. Previous investors also include Marc Benioff and Shawn Fanning.

Haleem teamed up with Shawn Fanning, the peer-to-peer pioneer and founder of Napster, and Chris Bruce, who founded and sold his IoT smart-baby monitor company Sproutling to Mattel, after the three met through Fanning’s startup, Rupture, which was acquired by Electronic Arts.

The Helium Hotspot is now available online for $495 at

Here’s how the Helium Hotspot works:

  • Plug and Play Freedom: The Helium Hotspot is a small device (6-inch x 6-inch x 1.5-inch) that easily plugs into a home network and provides affordable wireless connectivity for small devices to connect to the internet.
  • Earn Rewards: Rewards are distributed to Helium Hotspot owners as an incentive for providing wireless network coverage as a service — similar to how Airbnb helps homeowners earn money by providing access to a home as a service.
  • Move Data Across Miles: A tiny computer chip that attaches to virtually any small device (ride-share scooters, pet collars, and water and air quality sensors, etc.), can connect to the Helium Hotspot and wirelessly transmits data using Helium’s open-source technology, LongFi.

The People’s Network at Work
Helium has already sold out 80 percent of hotspots in its first U.S. market and added thousands of people to its global waiting list. As The People’s Network gains traction, Helium is officially announcing partnerships with a growing list of companies including:

Lime is testing Helium’s long-range network to quickly and economically track and recover scooters to keep mobility costs low for urban populations on the move. 

Nestlé’s beverage delivery service ReadyRefresh can now monitor the fill level of customers’ water coolers in real-time, thereby improving customer satisfaction and increasing the amount of water sold. 

Agulus is collecting data from automated irrigation valves, pumps and sprayers, and relaying commands back to a cloud-based control center resulting in streamlined costs to its agtech business.

InvisiLeash is partnering with Helium to build a portfolio of smart, affordable pet products starting with smart collars that ensure pets are never lost. 

“With Helium, we can deliver affordable smart collars with tracking capabilities that just weren’t possible before,” said Greg Gotts, CEO and Founder of InvisiLeash. “Owners will always know where their pets are in real-time, even over miles of range, running on batteries that last for years.”

The Helium Hotspot is now available online for $495 at

About Helium
Co-founded by Shawn Fanning and Amir Haleem in 2013, Helium’s mission is to make it easier to build connected products. Helium is building the world’s first peer-to-peer wireless network to simplify connecting anything to the internet by rewarding anyone to become a network operator. CEO Amir Haleem comes from an extensive background in triple-A video games, and Vice President of Product & Technology, Chris Bruce, was Founder and CEO of Sproutling, the baby monitor startup that sold to Mattel in 2016. Helium is backed by GV (formerly Google Ventures), Khosla Ventures, FirstMark, Marc Benioff, Shawn Fanning, and other top VCs.

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