Singapore’s UnaBiz acquires Sigfox

After weeks of uncertainty, the future of Sigfox and its subsidiary Sigfox France SAS is now sealed. The Toulouse Commercial Court has named UnaBiz, a Singapore-based Massive Internet of Things (IoT) service provider, as the new owner of the French IoT startup.

Co-founded in 2015 by Henri Bong, former Sigfox Asia Sales Director, UnaBiz owns and operates the Sigfox 0G network in Singapore and Taiwan and is a founding member of 0G United Nations, the global association of 0G network operators.

During the transition phase, Unabiz said it will conduct financial and operational assessments to protect the company’s assets, books, and critical network and backend systems to meet customer needs. .

“UnaBiz and Sigfox will strive to converge LPWAN,” UnaBiz CEO Bong said in a statement. “The new Sigfox will reinvent itself and collaborate with other IoT communication technologies to seize new market opportunities.”

UnaBiz also undertakes to retain 110 of the remaining 174 employees of Sigfox SA and the 16 employees of the subsidiary Sigfox France SAS.

In a post on LinkedInBong expressed his gratitude the fact that the company is based in Singapore would have been a problem and set milestones for the future. Because his message is in French, find the original post and its modest translation below.

It’s not just about taking the helm. As I said loud and clear in the hearing [at the Commercial Court of Toulouse], for me it is a marriage. It is the union of two entities that have always been made for each other.

Thank you all again for your messages. We would never have been able to convince without this incredible mobilization of the entire ecosystem. I hope this energy will become the foundation of a new dynamic for our industry. Let’s go on.

Thank you to the employees who repeatedly spoke out on our behalf, taking significant risks if we were not the end buyers. We will protect you and welcome you into the UnaBiz family. Welcome.

Thank you to the operators who have all united behind us. As operators ourselves, we understand your challenges and difficulties, and we will work together for your success because your success will define ours.

Thanks to the customers who did not hesitate to write us numerous letters of support, we will maintain the continuity of connectivity services and we will invest in R&D to continue improving the technology but also to create bridges with other protocols. Let’s open.

Finally, thank you to the French government who finally validated the IEF [Investissement Étranger en France or, in English, Foreign Direct Investment in France]. Yes, UnaBiz and its Board have unanimously decided to study the relocation of its head office to France and we will guarantee the sovereignty of the assets of this French startup.

A new era begins for IoT, a new hope, a new story, and I hope we can write it with all of you. Thank you

UnaBiz said new strategies and governance will be put in place to facilitate engagements with Sigfox’s existing Sigfox partners, customers and operators to support the company’s long-term development.

Rehabilitation procedure

On January 26, 2022, the IoT network provider was placed in receivership with exploitation proceedings by the Toulouse Commercial Court “at the request” of Sigfox CEO Jérémy Prince. The main reason given was the “slower than expected adoption cycle of its technology”.

“Please note that Sigfox is not in a state of bankruptcy,” said Sigfox’s head of corporate communications, Antoine Mège. EE Times Europe, at the time of announcement. “We have asked to be placed under judicial protection, requesting the opening of a receivership procedure (legal redress, in French). It’s not a liquidation. »

Mège continues: “The receivership procedure is a solution under French law intended to allow the continuation of the company’s activity and then its relaunch, the only way to ensure its sustainability. The final objective of this procedure is to find a buyer capable of investing in the growth and development of Sigfox.

The objective of this first six-month observation period was in fact to identify, through the implementation of a takeover plan, new buyers capable of supporting Sigfox’s long-term development and maintaining jobs.

By mid-March, nine companies had expressed interest in the startup, mostly financial groups. They included regional operator groups Sigfox Heliot Europe and iWire as well as Singapore-based IoT provider UnaBiz. Among the bidders was also the French network group Actility, an important player in the LoRAWaN camp.

The list also included the Buffet Investment Services Consortium, Greybull Capital, Sentiens, Groupe Zekat and OTEIS France.

The results of the receivership proceedings of Sigfox and its subsidiary Sigfox France SAS were unanimous, UnaBiz being recognized as “best offer among the first nine bidders” by the jury, the administrators, the public prosecutor, Sigfox SA, Sigfox France SAS and Sigfox employee representatives, the companies said in a statement.

Lost hopes

Founded in 2010, Sigfox is an LPWAN service provider for connecting simple, low-power, low-cost IoT devices to the Internet. Deployed in 75 countries, Sigfox’s 0G network is expected to cover more than 1.4 billion people. In 2022, Sigfox reported 20 million connected devices and 80 million messages sent every day.

Sigfox said it designed its technology and network to meet the demands of mass IoT applications: long device battery life, low device cost, low connectivity charges, high network capacity and long scope.

Since its inception, Sigfox has raised nearly 300 million euros from leading investors such as Intel, Samsung, NTT, SK Telecom, Salesforce, Total and Air Liquide.

Sigfox was listed in the 2020 and 2021 editions of La French Tech 120, a growth-stage program by La French Tech created to provide government-backed support to the 120 fastest growing companies in France. Given its growth potential, Sigfox has been referenced in the Next40, a selection of the most promising French technology startups.

Sigfox was also featured in the 2014, 2015and 2016 editions of EE Times Silicon 60: Startups to Watch.

Based in Labège, near Toulouse, France, Sigfox has offices in Boston, Dallas, Dubai, Madrid, Paris, São Paulo, Singapore and Tokyo.

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Mary I. Bruner