For how important cellular connectivity is these days, it’s remarkable how many of us still find ourselves in the grip of connectivity dead zones. It’s not just camping trips or long drives through the wilderness that leave us disconnected; it can be something as mundane as living next to a hill (we’re looking at you, San Francisco). For the answer to this problem, we can look to the capabilities of today’s handheld devices and some truly incredible software-based innovations.

Today, we are excited to announce our investment in Skylo, a cutting-edge communications technology startup based in the SF Bay Area. Skylo delivers something that borders on mind-blowing: device-to-satellite communications without any hardware changes. Accomplishing this took an incredible amount of effort from the Skylo team, led by founder and CEO Parth Trivedi, and his co-founders Dr. Andrew Nuttall, Tarun Gupta, and Dr. Andrew Kalman, and drew upon their deep experience with organizations like NASA and aerospace research programs at Stanford and MIT. 

At Next47, we’re proud to have a history of partnering with world-class teams at the intersection of hardware and software (Skydio and Verkada are two examples among many). In almost all cases, core innovation is resident in software, while hardware components are off-the-shelf, all elegantly combined to create products that deliver customer delight. Skylo aligns with this framework in that its product is a complex software solution that is very much hardware-aware and deployed on standard systems.

Before meeting Skylo, we would have bet that handset-to-satellite communications were not possible without a big external antenna and/or a lot more power: two things that are kryptonite to mobile devices and battery-powered IoT systems. The team at Skylo has achieved this feat, and moreover, it has delivered its software to be standards-compliant, something that is important for long-term impact on the communications sector. 

Taking a step away from its incredible technology, it’s worth remembering how much Skylo will positively impact lives: imagine every phone and every mobile device always being connected—no longer dependent on proximity to cellular towers. This vision of the future is accessible to individuals and is already saving lives

The value of ubiquitous human connectivity is undeniable and we are fortunate to get to partner with the Skylo team as it delivers a giant step forward for so many.