Hologram brings cellular-like SIM card to IoT fleets, assets

Hologram's dashboard helps IoT users manage the network usage of their devices, giving them ability to choose the best network coverage and to seamlessly roam between networks.

Hologram, a Chicago-based start-up that allows fleets of IoT-connected devices to roam between different networks has raised $65 million in Series B funding.

The company is just the latest start-up to raise financing to fund its aims to demolish some of the hurdles that have kept the IoT market from reaching its maximum commercial potential. For example, Wiliot last month drew $200 million to support its plan to slap low-cost sensors on IoT-linked products and packages. While that firm is looking to eliminate expense from IoT business models, Hologram is tackling other challenge--seamless roaming for mobile IoT devices, as well as the ability for fixed IoT devices to choose between different networks.

As IoT becomes a more common way of connecting fleets--everything from trucks to urban scooters--fleet operators need to deal with the complexity of managing their devices as they roam between different cellular IoT networks. Hologram aims to eliminate that complexity with SIM cards similar to those found in smartphones that will allow devices to automatically connect to and use the cellular IoT network offering the best coverage in a given area as devices roam from one service area to another.

It’s a capability almost every IoT device--even fixed IoT devices--will need to have to avoid being locked into a specific network that may not offer the best performance in their area, according to Ben Forgan, CEO and co-founder of Hologram.

“Almost every device, whether it's a fixed location asset or not, needs more than one carrier,” he said via email. “Being able to switch between multiple networks ultimately yields better performance and less downtime. For example, IoT devices ranging from micro-mobility scooters to EV charging stations may need different carriers for optimal coverage. So we make it a priority to build connectivity relationships that enable this behavior, whether a device is deployed in Indiana or India.”

Hologram already has relationships with more than 470 network operators worldwide. Its technology supports 2G, 3G, 4G, LTE and CAT-M connectivity, and the company also offers a dashboard that allows customers to simplify management of their devices roaming different networks, and the various data usage and pricing policies they may encounter

The round was led by Tiger Global, with participation from Bullpen Capital, NextView Ventures, and Mucker Capital. The new funding will allow Hologram plans to more than triple the size of its organization from around 70 employees to more than 225. The organization will also further develop its proprietary connectivity management technology and grow across key use-cases, including fleet and asset management and sensors, the ompany said.

The latest round gives Hologram to a total of $80 million raised in equity capital. Additionally, as part of their Series B, Hologram has allocated $5 million to angel investors, primarily focusing on underrepresented groups including women and people of color, the company said.

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