IoT Strategies

Sigfox in Peril as Senior Execs Exit – Sources

Sigfox hunting
Sigfox has previously taken flak for its tight control of the technology ecosystem. It has also been criticized for demanding a huge cut of service revenues from partners running Sigfox-based networks.

To others, the company has simply tried to go too far too fast. Instead of concentrating on a small number of geographical markets and industry sectors, Sigfox has appeared determined to develop a global capability meeting a diverse range of needs, even when its technology has looked ill suited to the task. Some of its previous activities have met with a customer backlash, as Light Reading has already reported. (See Sigfox Said to Face Customer Backlash.)

If Sigfox cannot find additional funding to pursue its current strategy, one possibility is that it gets acquired by a much bigger technology company interested in its intellectual property.

The company claims that its technology gives it a huge cost advantage over rival developers of so-called low-power, wide-area (LPWA) networks. Using unlicensed spectrum, its chips can provide connectivity in some markets for as little as $1 per device per year, according to earlier reports. It currently provides connectivity in more than 36 countries and plans to increase that number to as many as 60 during 2018. It was previously said to be considering an initial public offering next year, but this would be unlikely to happen unless sales were growing significantly. (See Sigfox to Go Public in 2018 – Report.)

Want to know more about the Internet of Things? Check out our dedicated IoT content channel here on Light Reading.

Sigfox's main technology challenge comes from another unlicensed-spectrum technology called LoRa, whose supporters boast a more "open" ecosystem and business model, as well as emerging cellular standards NB-IoT and LTE-M.

While some of the world's biggest service providers have embraced LoRa as well as the cellular options, Sigfox appears to have won limited backing from any telecom operators.

Although Spain's Telefónica and European cable group Altice have both announced deals with Sigfox, neither is making significant use of the Sigfox technology in production networks, according to Light Reading's sources. (See Telefónica Opens IoT Door to Sigfox and Sigfox 'Only Option' Today, Says Telefónica.)

Sigfox has also been accused of inflating the number of connections on its networks in official statements, basing the figure on the numbers in signed contracts instead of "active" connections.

The bust-up between senior management figures mirrors recent developments at Ingenu, another LPWA company with similar ambitions that lost industry veteran John Horn as CEO in the summer.

Formerly an executive at T-Mobile US, Horn quit the IoT specialist after its board rejected his requests for additional funding to establish Ingenu as a global player, according to two sources familiar with the matter.

A senior executive who still works for Sigfox declined to provide a comment for this story. Sigfox's press office did not respond to Light Reading's approach for comment.

— Iain Morris, News Editor, Light Reading

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Pavel Sodomka 12/5/2017 | 3:41:17 PM
Facts first 1. Some employees at a Sigfox company of 300 left or have been fired in the last three years. True.

Is it normal that people move in and out of the companies ? Yes

Was the change in most cases for the better ? Yes.

Please bear in mind that finding senior experienced people with fresh, startup spirit, wanting to do revolutionary things is one the toughest HR tasks.

2. Is the sales bellow expectations ? Yes.

Is it normal doing revolutionary things to underestimate time it takes to change people¨s minds and business models ?

I remember my times at Microsoft when nobody believed in Internet and my times with Google when nobody believed in Cloud Computing. Now we take both as something inevitable at the same level as electricity. We will have Sigfox and IoT for such a normal thing within 3 years....

3. Does the technology work ? Yes.

Time and time again customers after trying Semtech/LoRa come to us and switch to Sigfox. Sigfox cannot do everything. It is not "universal IoT network". But what is does it does perfectly, reliably and securely.

We are launching tens of B2BC use cases this and next year in utilities, logistics, security, and insurance.

Innogy is running huge nationwide TV campaign for household gas metering based on Sigfox.


How many TV, online and print campaigns for solutions based on LoRa have you seen ?

And four more TV campaigns by big brand names for Sigfox based solutions are in the works...


4.Does Sigfox do everything perfectly ? No.

As with any other revolutionary startup mistakes are made. What is important is, whether they are reflected and fixed. 

Sometimes it seems to take ages.

But big progress was made in module prices and availability, support for device makers through build.sigfox.com, availabiliy and price of devices and solutions (over 400 devices at partners.sigfox.com), support, ability to buy connectivity immediately online, support of Sigfox by more than 200 IoT Platforms, geolocation, documentation, etc.

There are things that need to be simplified and improved. 

But current Sigfox management is aware of that, and is actively working on it.


Disclaimer: I am co-owner of SimpleCell, Sigfox operator in Czech and Slovak republic. preparing expansion and coverage of missing territories in Central Europe.


IOTNOW 12/4/2017 | 8:51:54 AM
Re: The Hype!!! Well I am glad that you feel I do not know anything about business or IOT, nor investing. SInce you are such a great expert in all of these things, tell me why are the press picking up on this, and why does the top execs of the company jump ship? Oh yes, they were under performing, yes makes sense to invest so many years, and then only after years do they fingure they are nder performing...... 

As they say in the big book, it aint over till the fatv lady sings.....


BTW having a network, does not constitute having an AP in a few Regus offices in a city!!


Gallis 12/3/2017 | 1:14:46 AM
Re: The Hype!!! Mr IoTNOW (which we would like to know who is hidding behing this name),

Clearly, you are not an investor in anything and have no idea about any business model.

Claiming that all investors in Sigfox and its partners are part of a Ponzi scheme is a real joke.

What we have been through, I think any investors do 10 times more due diligence on start-ups than any other companies, spent way more times studying business model than throwing money to a Maddoff for a quick return. Investors in start-ups have a long term strategy, either as a potential customer of the technology (such as Total) or as partner to it ( such as Salesforce) or simply want to be part of a revolution.

Amazon lost millions the first 10 years and nobody believed in it, press was mocking the company results but the investors, because they understood the company would change the world. 

So calling yourself IoTNOW and not being able to understand that LPWAN opens the door for connecting anything, 20x more things than smartphones with a recurring revenue business model (which is not $1/year/device everytime by the way), then i think you need to change your name to may be M2M2000. 
Hunter 12/2/2017 | 1:59:10 AM
Re: Sigfox Germany runs great ++ couldn't agree more
Hunter 12/2/2017 | 1:58:05 AM
Re: Press always prefers drama than successes. so good
IOTNOW 11/29/2017 | 10:10:21 PM
The Hype!!! Sigfox has mastered the use of the media in order to create a lot of interest around a sub standard LPWAN solution. This has created a 40 X revenue multiplier for themselves when attracting investors. Now, what round of investment are they at? F, or G? Raised 300 Million over how many years, and have not turned a profit as of yet??? Lets put the 300 Million in my bank ccount for a moment! They say that they earned 36 million......on how many connections? Also what was the revenue split with their local partners in each country? OK so it was 36 Million, they have 300 employees at present, and growing. At 120,000 USD revenue genrated per employee, and the average salary per employee not less then 60-70 K, This seems a little shy, after almost 9 years in the technology sector. 

What has gone on inside Sigfox, only the actual individuals know the truth, but that somethng smells fishy in Denmark....... this is a fact!!!


BTW, has anyone ever done the math on the business model? 1 dollar a year per connection, and the base stations cost how much? and the backhual, and tower rentals? and the employees to run the equipment? Oh has anyone mentioned that the amount of base stations needed to have real coverage in urban areas far exceeds the marketing hype that Sigfox claims. (oh but it was in the press release so it must be true) People need to start doing some math, and understand what the meaning of Ponzi is........ 

Gallis 11/29/2017 | 6:03:19 PM
Press always prefers drama than successes. Here is the reality check behind few executives under performing:

- I see now 36 countries launched with strong Sigfox coverage, then South Korea just signed up as 37th with expectations to have 60 top countries by end of 2018. I would even expect a couple more before end of year...

- I see an ecosystem of partners that doubled in just 1 year, building amazing solutions.

- I see locally in ANZ, exponential projects in the pipeline and Sigfox has become the de facto go to guys for the internet of simple things.

So, having few exec, most of them asked to leave, because they are not performing to expectations or not aligning with the business is pretty healthy.I much prefer that than people staying for 20 years in the same company, reaching the top and not moving from there. You always need new blood to keep going strong, specially when you are a grown-up fighting mammoths.
Wosylus 11/29/2017 | 2:57:00 AM
Sigfox Germany runs great ++ My feel someone puts a bit a pessimistic view on Sigfox in here. What I can tell out of Sigfox Germany view it runs more than perfect.

We (Sigfox Germany) started with me in March 2016 and we have grown to a strong and experienced team of 17 persons today.

It is remarkable that we build up the network here from 0 to 60% coverage in only 14 month. My feel is that we are talking about a world record speed here.

On the business side it is more than brilliant, project on project. It's unbelievable I haven't seen such a customer pull in my 18yrs biz history before. This means we are HIRING...HIRING. In case you are interested please contact the Munich Sigfox Team, we are waiting for you!

Greetings to the LPWAN world
Aurelius Wosylus
sarcher60555 11/28/2017 | 9:47:17 AM
Sigfox generated just €30 million (US$36 million) in revenues in 2016? That is €29.5 million more than you would expect.
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