Startup Street: This German Startup Wants To Put A Mobile Tower On The Moon
This week on Startup Street we have a company that wants to deploy a communication tower on the Moon with the help of SpaceX, Audi and Vodafone. SoundCloud has found a lifeline in its investors who pumped in emergency funds help it stay afloat, Jews now have a crypto-currency just for them and Hike just acquired a smartphone maker. Here’s what went on.
Call Me From The Moon?
In 1969, the United States of America put its flag on to the Moon’s soil. Now, a German space startup, wants to set up a communication tower.
PTScientists, earlier known as Part Time Scientists, is working towards deploying the same cellular technology we use on earth on the lunar surface and transmit data back to the earth using Audi lunar quattro rovers. While the rovers themselves have the ability to transmit feed, they consume a lot of power and need to remain still while doing so. That can be fixed, as LTE data connection consumes far less power, said Robert Boehme, Chief Executive Officer of the startup in an email to BloombergQuint.
We would prefer to be able to livestream the video footage as the rovers are exploring the lunar surface.Robert Boehme, Chief Executive Officer, PTScientists
But how will this happen? Missions to the Moon aren’t cheap.
The German company has secured a spot on a shared launch of a Falcon 9 - the reusable rockets belonging to Elon Musk’s SpaceX. PTScientists, just like SpaceX, aims to bring down the cost of future missions and enable greater access to space and lunar exploration. The spot is expected to open up in 2018, Boehme said.
The startup has tied up with Audi for the lunar rovers and Vodafone for the communications tower. They also have other academic partners and business customers paying them to take their payload to the Moon, he said, refusing to disclose further details.
The startup also did not divulge details regarding the funding it has received till date, and who its investors are.
Investors Throw SoundCloud A Lifeline
Music streaming startup SoundCloud Ltd. will live to fight another day as new investors pumped in emergency funds to keep the company afloat.
SoundClould founder Alexander Ljung confirmed in a blog post that the company secured Series F funding, the largest in its financing history, from New York-based investor The Raine Group, and Singapore’s Temasek.
This financing means SoundCloud remains strong & independent.Alexander Ljung, Founder, SoundCloud
The deal will also see Ljung also stepping aside from his role as the chief executive officer. He will be replaced with video streaming platform Vimeo’s chief Kerry Trainor. Ljung will continue as chairman.
Last month, the Berlin-based company laid off nearly half of its staff, as 173 employees were let go in efforts to reduce costs amidst a cash shortage. The startup has over the years tried negotiating with record labels for a monthly subscription service, one that matches the likes of Apple and Spotify, but hasn't seen that materialise successfully.
SoundCloud, with more than 175 million users, has become a popular destination for discovering upcoming artists and podcasts. But that hasn’t translated into sound business. The company will now shift focus away from a subscription service and try to compete less directly with the larger rivals, Trainor told Bloomberg.
It’s Like Bitcoin, But For Jews
A Russian self described “serial entrepreneur” Vyacheslav Semenchuk has launched a crypto-currency aimed at the Jewish community. He has named the current BitCoen, a word play between bitcoin and the Hebrew word for priest - Coen.
The BitCoen will have its initial coin offering (like an IPO but for crypto-currencies) from October, according to a countdown on its website. It is offering to sell 100 million BitCoen at $1 each. The Bitcoen is being advertised as the first “kosher crypto-currency”, which means it will be in-line with Jewish customs and laws. CNews reported that this means a tenth of earnings on every coin will be given to the community. Jewish members will be able to receive this money as an interest-free loan.
The company will be controlled by a council of six leading figures of the Jewish community, from different arenas like business, politics or technology. Every decision would have to be taken by all six coming together.
India’s Hike Messenger, run by Kavin Bharti Mittal, has acquired the team of hardware startup Creo who were known for launching a smartphone named Mark 1.
In a short media statement, Hike confirmed that the 50-plus team of Creo will be joining its ranks. However, the Creo team may not be working on hardware anymore. “The Creo team will begin work on a developer platform to enable 3rd party developers to build services on the Hike platform”, said a Hike spokesperson.
The Creo team on its website confirmed that it won't be making any more Mark 1 smartphones, and software updates would discontinue. Customer support would remain till March 2018. “We’ll share what we’re up to in the times to come. Hopefully you’ll find what we build next awesome too!”, Team Creo said on its website.
Creo was founded in 2013 by Sai Srinivas Kiran G and Shubham Malhotra, who were earlier employees of Hike. Kavin Mittal was an investor in Creo alongside Sequoia.