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Austin Becomes World’s First City to Launch Peer-to-Peer Wireless Network Powered by Helium Hotspots

Helium creates an inexpensive, ultra-long-range wireless network owned by consumers because smart dog collars and wildfire sensors shouldn’t require cellular plans

Austin, Texas, US – WEBWIRE

AUSTIN, TEXAS (Aug. 1, 2019) -- Helium, the company behind the world’s first peer-to-peer wireless network, today announces that Austin, a hub of entrepreneurship and innovation, is the first city in the world where consumers who purchased the Helium Hotspot can act as their own network operators. This unique distributed approach to building a network makes it dramatically less expensive to connect low-power Internet of Things (IoT) devices from remote wildfire or agricultural sensors to smart pet collars, scooters, and bikes being tracked across any city.

The network, called the People’s Network, moves data over extremely long distances thanks to Helium’s open-source “LongFi” protocol that transmits data 200 times farther than Wi-Fi for a fraction of the cost of standard cellular plans. 

“There are pressing business problems from tracking scooters and lost pets to gathering data about fires and crop yields that require the ability to move small bits of data inexpensively over large distances,” explains Amir Haleem, Helium’s CEO, and co-founder. “Solving those problems requires an entirely new kind of network with a new economic model and Austin is leading the way as our first launch city.”

Driving this innovative economic model is a new cryptocurrency, Helium, that Hotspot owners receive for helping to secure and maintain the network, as well as for transferring data from IoT devices that move through their Hotspot. 

The People’s Network at Work
The Helium Hotspot launched in June and quickly sold out of units allotted for Austin - its first US market - and announced partnerships with a growing list of companies that include:

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 agricultural tech 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. 

The Helium Hotspot is a plug-in-and-forget consumer device that works like this:

  • Plug and Play Freedom: The Helium Hotspot is the size of a small router (6-inch x 6-inch x 1.5-inch) and easily plugs into a home network and provides affordable wireless connectivity for small devices to connect to the internet.
  • Earn Rewards: Helium tokens are distributed to 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 news from Austin also comes on the heels of the company’s $15M Series C round that brought its total funding to $51M. Helium’s recent round was 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.

The Helium Hotspot is available online for $495 at 

About Helium
Co-founded by Shawn Fanning and Amir Haleem in 2013, 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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