I’m excited to share we’ve closed our Series B financing led by Union Square Ventures. Albert Wenger, one of USV’s managing partners, is joining goTenna’s board.
While raising venture capital is a slog I try to forget the second it’s over, closing a new round is also an opportunity to reflect on what we’ve accomplished and what’s next.
I first met Albert two years ago, and we connected on our shared conviction that distributed infrastructure would be an essential part of the communications stack moving forward. We agreed mesh networks would be an important element of this. At the time, however, goTenna was still almost a year away from shipping our first product, which wouldn’t be mesh-capable mostly due to regulatory restrictions. I told Albert goTenna would mesh, and it was just a question of when.
The past two years at goTenna
The last 24 months have been very busy for our team. We set up our global supply chain, established manufacturing processes, and successfully shipped goTenna v1 in late 2015 with an <1% hardware fail rate we’ve maintained to this day. We expanded beyond our e-commerce storefront into nationwide retail while maintaining healthy margins and winning lots of tech and design awards.
Many tens of thousands of people have bought and used goTenna v1 to stay connected to friends and family during all sorts of off-grid adventures. And almost as soon as they were available, our devices were used for mission-critical communications by firefighters and other professional groups. The stories go on, each a validating discovery, inspiring countless new features as well as entirely new products.
Indeed, user feedback informed what we included in goTenna Plus, our software subscription upgrade. Users also helped us test our software SDK, which turns goTenna into a developer platform. Apps powered by goTenna’s SDK include a geo-spatial awareness integration with ATAK maintained by the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory, an IoT integration for property managers at senior-living facilities developed by Breezie, and a wildland fire management system called FiResponse created by Technosylva.
Hardware can be cash-intensive, but our team stretched its equity capital by keeping our team small and investing revenue from product sales back into the organization. We also won various non-dilutive research and development grants from entities like Google and the U.S. Department of Defense, which helped fund some engineering projects.
Here’s what’s next for goTenna
Our biggest achievement to date is our “Aspen Grove” mesh protocol, which powers our second and third hardware releases: goTenna Mesh and goTenna Pro. Both devices will ship this year, and goTenna Pro will be complemented by a fleet management portal and deployment kit.
By the time I reconnected with USV just before the holidays, goTenna had lots of updates to share — including making good on our promise to mesh. We’re also a good fit for the firm’s new investment thesis, which includes alternative and distributed access to connectivity. USV and goTenna believe in the power and broad applicability of bottom-up, peer-to-peer communications networks and now we can push those ideas forward together.
This financing will most immediately support the commercial availability of goTenna Mesh (late spring) and the full line of goTenna Pro products and services (later this year). The round will also allow us to expand into international and professional markets for the first time, and it will fund explorations into what’s beyond the immediate product pipeline. All of this requires more smart people — we’re hiring!
On that note, I’d like to celebrate goTenna’s remarkable team because they’ve made this milestone and all of what’s ahead possible. Thank you!