Helium rebrands to Nova Labs – what does this mean for your hotspots and IoT projects
Helium announced that it has successfully raised a $200 million Series D funding. It’s been backed by some very big names, but it also comes with some big changes. One of them is that Helium Inc., the company behind the Helium Network, is now rebranding to Nova Labs.
Also, the Decentralized Wireless Alliance is renaming to the Helium Foundation. It will own Helium Inc’s brand assets. So, let’s cut straight to the chase.
What does that mean for your Helium hotspots and your IoT projects using the Helium network?
Don’t worry, they are all safe. You can continue to use them as you have already. The Helium Networks remains open and decentralized. People and companies can continue to add hotspots and devices as they have. Nothing changes.
In fact, things should become more clear and united now. The entities will have distinct responsibilities while ensuring that the Helium Network will remain open as it has been. One of the main changes for everyone – under the stewardship of the Helium Foundation, the Helium name and brand can now be used openly by the ecosystem.
“While we may have a new name, Nova Labs is still dedicated to the advancement of the Helium Network. Our team of contributors will continue to develop work related to the core protocol, Helium blockchain, and Network infrastructure. In addition, we will continue efforts to expand coverage, increase utilization, and support our growing customer base”, says Nova Labs.
Also, the Helium Blockchain remains with shared control. Currently both Nova Labs and Helium Foundation will have independent key management. Their goal is to also add more signers.
The Helium Foundation will provide independent network governance from the original Helium Inc team. There will be monthly community calls, too. The Foundation will also provide oversight, ecosystem development and education and advocacy for Helium and related technologies.
So, why the change?
Long story short, Nova Labs says this will make it easy to separate the company and the business side from the open Helium network, the Helium blockchain and the HNT cryptocurrency.
“We’ve come a long way since our early beginnings in 2013 and I’m constantly in awe of the Helium Network’s growth, from coverage to device utilization, and the brilliant ideas for improving it that arise from the Helium Community. This is the fastest rollout of a global wireless network in history, and we should all be immensely proud of what we’ve accomplished together so far”, says Amir Haleem, CEO and Co-Founder of Helium Inc., now Nova Labs.
In essence, the move mirrors a lot the one done by Mat Mullenweg and WordPress. He created the popular blog platform and eventually also founded the company Automattic which owns WordPress.com – the blogging platform using WordPress and providing hosting services for users. Thanks to this move, Mullenweg managed to keep WordPress open and free for everyone to use, but also to be able to create a business without hampering his creation.
Nova Labs is basically doing the same. By creating a clearer separation between the business side and the open project, both can thrive without confusing users and clients.
Who’s behind the funding
Nova Labs is the entity which receives the $200 million Series D funding. It’s notable that the funding has some very broad and big backers.
It’s led by Tiger Global and Andreessen Horowitz. Also participating are Seven Seven Six, Goodyear Ventures, Google Ventures, Liberty Global, NGP Capital (backed by Nokia), Pantera Capital, Ribbit Capital and Deutsche Telekom’s strategic investment fund Telekom Innovation Pool (TIP).
Nova Labs says it will use the funding to invest in the Helium ecosystems, hire more people to develop it and to accelerate continued wireless protocol support. The company is also planning to create new applications on top of the Helium Network. Nova Labs says it will share more of those plans over the coming weeks and months.