Senet, a startup founded in 2009 that’s building a LoRa-based Internet of Things (IoT) network in locations across the United States, said it is currently generating annual revenues in the “single digit millions” range. However, it expects that to increase in the coming years as it scores more customers and expands its network and operations.
“We’re in that single digit millions range [in annual revenues], and we see that going very rapidly to double digit millions over the next three years, probably double digit to triple digit millions,” Senet's VP of Business Development Will Yapp told FierceWirelessTech.
Yapp explained that Senet’s business is based on selling buckets of wireless access to customers, much like Tier 1 wireless carriers do with LTE connections, though Yapp said Senet customers typically spend $1 per year to several dollars per month on the company’s LoRa-powered service.
Senet is one of a growing number of companies targeting the low-power, wide-area network (LPWAN) space. Alongside players like Sigfox and Ingenu, Senet is working to sell slow-speed wireless network services, connected to inexpensive devices with years of battery life, to a wide range of business verticals such as agricultural companies, utilities and others.
And already Senet is seeing traction: Yapp said the company currently counts 50-60 customers connecting over 100,000 devices to the company’s network, which runs on unlicensed spectrum in the 915 MHz band. Already Senet has said it covers 125,000 square miles of geography today across 100 U.S. cities – predominantly in areas of New England, upstate New York and some in the Midwest. It also has a lot in California, from San Francisco to the Central Valley and extending down into the LA area. And it plans to double that coverage area over the next year.
Yapp explained Senet got its start in 2009 selling a proprietary wireless networking to companies that sold oil and propane to residential users: The technology allowed those companies to monitor their customers’ fuel levels and only deliver fuel when tanks ran dry, thus saving them potentially expensive check-in trips. In 2013, the company decided to pivot to LoRa network technology, mainly because the technology was backed by a growing ecosystem of suppliers and supported a range of applications.
Senet’s experience in the home heating fuels market was informative: Dealers in the space previously used cellular networks that required $250 devices with SIM cards and monthly service fees of $7-10 per month for data.
“We saw an opportunity to take this application and launch it using LPWAN connectivity, and specifically LoRa, and by doing that we reduced the price of the device down to $40 retail, and the price of the network down to $2.50,” Yapp explained. “And that allowed these heating company dealers to address a whole wide range of the market that they couldn’t before, namely the residential home heating fuels market, and by using this application they saved themselves anywhere between $75-$150 a tank a year. So if you’re a dealer and you have thousands of tanks under management, that’s a substantial amount of money in a razor-thin margin business.”
Senet’s goal now is to expand its offerings into the wider IoT market. “We saw a huge opportunity in other IoT applications, whether it be in agriculture, smart cities, building, oil and gas, industrial IoT,” Yapp said.
Interestingly, Senet’s vendor options are also expanding. Yapp said the company previously built its own LoRa base stations for around $8,000 or $9,000, but is now purchasing LoRa equipment from the likes of Multitech and Kerlink for as low as $1,000 per gateway. “We started to utilize those, and that started to open up a whole new set of markets,” he said.
And what of a potentially crowded LPWAN market, with players ranging from Ingenu to Sigfox to AT&T and Verizon with LTE Cat M? “We think there’s a significant market,” Yapp explained, with room enough for most players.