LeoSat CEO Envisions a High-Capacity, Low-Latency Backbone... in Space!

Lots of puzzle pieces
But to achieve that plan, LeoSat has to create and assemble several puzzle pieces that including finalizing the system's technology and design, obtaining regulatory approvals, and, of course, locking in the necessary funding.

LeoSat is in the early stages of funding the effort, which is expected to require an investment of about $3.5 billion. LeoSat hasn't disclosed current funding levels, but Rigolle said the startup is in the seed capital phase and has raised "tens of millions" so far.

Early on, LeoSat has attracted two key strategic investors -- Japan's JSAT and Hispasat, the Spanish operator with a presence in Europe and in Latin America.

Both have been working with LeoSat on the preliminary design and will continue that work as LeoSat endeavors to make its satellites lighter and cheaper.

"That's what we're very much focused on now and for the coming months," Rigolle said.

LeoSat, he added, will pursue a Series "A" funding round as it finalizes the design and looks to ink its first manufacturing contract.

On the regulatory side, LeoSat has been working through the ITU for rights to use its planned frequencies, and, in November 2018, received approval from the FCC.

That's a good start, but to get the localized rights on a broader global scale, LeoSat will have to obtain approvals on a country-by-country basis.

In the meantime, the company claims that it has already signed more than $1.2 billion in customer commitments.

Examples of companies with pre-launch agreements with LeoSat include DCS Telecom, a telecoms provider for Middle East, Africa and Asia; GlobalSat, a Pan-American communications services provider; Globecomm Systems, a connectivity provider serving the enterprise, telecoms, energy and government sectors; CopaSat, a communications provider for the US government and military; and Supernet, an enterprise network provider based in Pakistan.

— Jeff Baumgartner, Senior Editor, Light Reading

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