Kinéis has reached its capital-raising target of 100 million euros. CLS, CNES, Bpifrance via the fund for Industrial Project Companies (SPI), financed by the ‘Investments for the Future’ Programme and the European Investment Bank, Ifremer, Thales, CELAD, BNP Paribas Développement, HEMERIA and other industrial and financial partners are investing in and supporting Kinéis' ambition to provide universal satellite connectivity. 25 nanosatellites will be added to complement the service which has been provided by the Argos system to scientific and environmental communities for more than 40 years. Kinéis will also develop its activity in the new markets opened up by the IoT.
Kinéis has completed an historic capital-raising campaign, established strategic commercial partnerships with Bouygues Telecom, Suez, the Wize Alliance and Arribada, and filled its order book. This new French global connectivity provider, which already has 8 operational satellites, has thus become the first IoT satellite connectivity player to finance its development, from the construction of its constellation to the launch of its 25 nanosatellites, scheduled for 2022, and the development of its ground segment.
This young company is not only fulfilling its financial and industrial promises, but also its commercial and partnership commitments. Kinéis is getting ahead of the pack and taking its place in the NewSpace landscape.
Kinéis® becomes the first nanosatellite constellation dedicated to the IoT, to be fully financed
To democratize access to satellite connectivity and to connect millions of objects simply, cheaply and anywhere on the planet, technical prowess alone is not enough. Raising 100 million euros for a satellite IoT project is unprecedented and makes Kinéis, which is receiving significant support from strategic institutions, an unrivalled private player in the market.
Alexandre Tisserant, who was appointed President of Kinéis at the same time, declares: “We are very proud to have reached this major milestone. With the funds needed to launch our constellation, we are now free to focus entirely on satellite manufacturing and commercial deployment.” The unfailing support of CNES, the French space agency, underlines the project’s importance and signals that we are benefiting from major technical support.
The Kinéis constellation already consists of Argos operational payloads on seven satellites and a prototype nanosatellite, ANGELS, which was placed in orbit on 18 December last. France's first industrial nanosatellite, developed with the support of CNES and operated from the Toulouse Space Centre, carries technology similar to that of Kinéis. This launch and the first successful reception of messages, bodes well for the future Kinéis system, which is being developed by the same industrial team: Thales Alenia Space (architect of the system, which is in charge of the development of payloads with Syrlinks, and which is responsible for ground stations and the mission control centre) and HEMERIA (which is responsible for the satellite platforms and integration).
The project is intended to be exemplary regarding environmental issues in that it uses nanosatellites which, in addition to complying with France’s Space Operations Act, are intended to avoid space debris. The Kinéis satellites, weighing less than 30 kg, will be equipped with an electric propulsion system that will secure end-of-life de-orbiting and enable collision-avoidance capabilities.
Coherent and conscientious governance
Kinéis benefits from a new, solid and coherent capital structure. A team of industrial space experts and financial partners have joined forces with CLS, which initiated the project with support from two strategic players, CNES and Bpifrance, via the SPI fund. As Alexandre Tisserant explains: “The capital that has now been raised will finance the construction of the constellation of 25 nanosatellites, 20 ground stations, the IT infrastructure for controlling the constellation, data processing and distribution, the development of new products, the launch of the satellites and the international expansion of Kinéis.”
Kinéis provides strategic connectivity for CLS's activities; CLS created the spin-off in 2019 and remains the biggest shareholder with 32% of the capital. Christophe Vassal, CLS CEO and President of the Kinéis Supervisory Board says: “Achieving our capital raising goal is a big step for our project. The ambitious Kinéis programme will ensure the future of the Argos system. For more than 40 years, we have been using this system to help scientists, NGOs and governments understand our planet, protect it and manage our natural resources in a sustainable way. Kinéis has already yielded good results and we are confident that its success will lay firm foundations for our future growth.”
“With Kinéis, French NewSpace is becoming a reality" emphasises Jean-Yves Le Gall, CNES President. The Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales, founder of the Argos system, is demonstrating through Kinéis that it is playing a strategic role in the emergence of French NewSpace: “With ANGELS, the first stage in this adventure, CNES is proving that it is possible to develop, manufacture and launch satellites in two and a half years, whereas previously it took between five and ten years. We are very proud that CNES, through Kinéis, is promoting the development and excellence of the French space industry. For us, Kinéis is a strategic investment!”
Magali Joëssel, Director of SPI fund at Bpifrance, declares: “We are very proud to be participating in the development of the first European nanosatellite constellation dedicated to the IoT. Kinéis has many assets for meeting the needs of industry in addressing the IoT and providing solutions for environmental and climate concerns, thanks to its global coverage. Kinéis will give a crucial boost to the French NewSpace industry. Through this project, Bpifrance is helping to develop strong skills and establish a NewSpace sector in France.”
The industry leaders Thales and HEMERIA have also decided to participate financially in the project. They have thus demonstrated their confidence in the Kinéis business model and have positioned themselves as key partners.
Ifremer, Institut Français de Recherche pour l'Exploitation de la Mer (French Research Institute for Exploitation of the Sea), which was a shareholder in CLS a few days ago, reaffirmed its confidence in the group, and is now investing in Kinéis.
CELAD, an IT services company specialised in information systems, industrial and embedded systems and based in the Toulouse region, has decided to embark on a global connectivity project for the future.
BNP Développement in its turn has marked its confidence in the project by investing in it with its own funds.
ETHICS Group, a management consulting firm specialized in the transformation of organisations, based in Toulouse too, has also committed itself to the project so that Kinéis shines as an innovative and exemplary company in its way of operating in collective intelligence.
Finally, several private investors, passionate about space and eager to accompany Europe’s first concrete NewSpace project, have also joined the adventure and completed the capital-raising round.
Remarkable business and partnership results in only 8 months of existence
With more than a score of subscriptions to the Space Priority Program, since its opening last September, the commercial launch of Kinéis has fulfilled all its promises. 10,000 chipsets1 and several hundred additional electronic modules2 are already in stock and ready for shipment. Orders on a larger scale are expected at the beginning of the year.
CLS is also developing several large-scale programmes based on Kinéis connectivity, for monitoring herds (buffalo, reindeer), oceanographic buoys and fishing-related equipment. This will lead to many orders in the future.
At the last Paris Air Show, Kinéis announced the signing of three strategic partnerships respectively with Objenious by Bouygues Télécom, Suez and the Wize Alliance. Philippe Cola, IoT Architect at Bouygues Telecom, enthusiastically states that "the LoRa-Kinéis hybrid solution is under development and will be made available to our customers for testing in the coming months". For their part, Suez and the Wize Alliance are continuing their work to integrate Kinéis space technology into their smart water meters.
Advanced Tracking, specialising in satellite communications, has ordered 500 Kinéis modules in order to design and market as many beacons within the year.
Kinéis is also developing a beacon and a mobile application dedicated to adventurers in remote areas. Kinéis Adventures is also connected to the COSPAS-SARSAT institutional civil protection system. This solution was successfully presented at the AlpinMesse in Austria in November 2019. The final product is expected by the end of the year.
Proving that the Kinéis system is being emulated, Arribada3 has developed a widely-reputed electronic design and an open source software library to allow as many people as possible to simply create their own Argos transceiver.
The technologies developed by Kinéis are also attracting a lot of interest from the world of innovation: in 2019 Kinéis was a finalist at the DB Schenker start-up competition at the Viva Tech trade fair. INSA students are also working on a hybrid transceiver demonstrator for dual-link capability with Kinéis satellite connectivity and NB-IoT networks based on Sierra Wireless technologies.