Crypto Report: Nova Labs Raises $200M
So i think that the the really the easiest way to think about what helium does is. It empowers ordinary people, everyday people to participate in the telecom business right. This is the most entrenched um industry. Thats almost impossible for like a regular person to participate in uh and what helium has really pioneered is the ability for really everyday people to become part of the telecom business, with this sort of decentralization in this crypto twist to it. So everyday participants buy a little piece of hardware called the hotspot. You can think of it as a miniature cell tower um and they earn hmt, which is the uh, the helium token for providing network coverage that other people can use. Thats thats sort of the simplest way to think about it. What are some of your first use cases and customers yeah, so theres been some interesting ones. I mean the the network today is focused on the internet of things right, which is mostly sensors, uh small devices that are battery powered and so weve seen everything from uh drone delivery, so packages being delivered by drones that are orchestrated through the helium network. Precision, agriculture, things like wildfire monitoring, connected rat traps, you know, theres, a the number of use. Cases is extremely broad and iot as a category has been uh one that has really lacked um a network that supports the kinds of applications that were now seeing get built. So its were really starting to see like the transformation of an idea which was iot 10 years ago to to the reality, which is people and businesses starting to deploy sensors that solve real problems.
So is the goal here to take share from major wireless carriers, and how do you plan to do that? You know, i think the the goal really is to try and build an alternative to what we have today right, like the the the internet. Access to the internet has been something which has been so difficult, uh to separate from um a sort of small constituent of of companies that have owned access to the internet, its incredibly difficult to to decentralize. That way, due to so many different modes, whether its spectrum, whether its physical access and so what weve seen now, is uh the sort of convergence of all these different technologies, including crypto. That makes it possible now for us to provide an alternative that is completely open. That is very private that is very secure and that is really owned by the people, rather than a small group of companies that typically have a stranglehold in this industry. Now, given your fundraising announcement today, 200 million dollars, including from tiger global, we were just having a conversation earlier with andrea wallner at manhattan. Venture partners who maintains that some of these bigger funds like tiger global, are driving up valuations because they simply have so much money to plow into startups. What do you make of that critique and do you think it applies at all to nova? If you look at the telecom industry, i mean it is one of the few industries that is valued in the you know, trillions of dollars right and so the the opportunity here is so large uh that i think it is quite difficult to ascribe evaluation to it.
Right so obviously, obviously im biased, im not going to say that were overvalued or anything like that, but i think the opportunity that were looking at is so big and so unique right. I think helium is one of the few crypto projects that has a real tangible. Like you know, real world use case that everyone can understand right, like people get to participate and become basically a little a miniature cell tower right, and so, if you think about how that grows, you know today the network is focused mostly on iot uh, but as You think of the expansion that there are now something like 20 000 5g hotspots being deployed, and you know we expect there to be other types of wireless network that get built on top of helium 2, whether thats wi fi, bluetooth, 6g or any other future technology. Meantime we are seeing companies more broadly slash. Their valuation plan for layoffs were in the middle now of of what seems to be a market downturn. How are you you know? Are you changing your strategy at all or being more conservative with your cash as you navigate these macro economic conditions? You know, i think weve generally ive been the believers in small teams that that can do big things, and you know today we are 60 or so employees and and looking to grow um. But you know, i think this. The philosophy of the company has always been that small teams can do lots of big things and that has allowed us to be very flexible in different economic conditions.
Right like we are looking to add 2 000 employees and put ourselves in danger that way. So you know, i think, theres a lot of pressure on startups to to show growth in in multiple directions, and one of those is uh is headcount, um and so were weve always been careful about that, and i think that will serve us well going forward because We built this culture of uh of trying to be disruptive this way and as a result of of being able to use crypto economics, you really get to build an entire community behind you. You know so the size of the actual you know founding team or the core team matters a hell of a lot less because youve got. You know six hundred thousand plus hotspot hosts uh, who are really the ones actually running the network who own the network and thats.