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Strathclyde part of £3.1M funding round for alumni-led space tech start-up

View of Glasgow city centre

The University of Strathclyde is part of a £3.1M funding round for an alumni-led space technology company.

Glasgow based R3-IoT addresses challenges organisations face in digitising business operations, products, and services due to a lack of, or unreliable communications infrastructure.  

The Company is gearing up for international expansion after closing a £3.1 million seed investment round led by New York based venture capitalist Space Capital, joined by the Scottish National Investment Bank , which previously announced an investment in M Squared Lasers, another strategic partner of the University, last year.

Other investors include North American-based Ryan Johnson, former CEO of BlackBridge, Nathan Kundtz, CEO of Rendered.ai, and Loren Padelford, former GM of Revenue at Shopify. Scottish Enterprise also become shareholders and continue to support the company.

Strathclyde Inspire

It marks a significant investment by the Strathclyde Inspire Investment Fund (SIIF), which bridges the early-stage funding gap by providing investments alongside third-party, lead investors in University-related enterprises.

The Fund is available for investment in companies created by Strathclyde students, staff, alumni and strategic partners. Investments are typically between £100,000-£400,000.

R3-IoT’s technology wirelessly connects smart devices such as sensors – on, or offshore, automatically transmitting data via the cloud to an intuitive insights platform - helping organisations to remotely manage risks, improve efficiencies and digitise operations across multiple sites and locations. 

Founded in 2018, R3-IoT was voted the fifth most innovative technology company in Scotland in the BusinessCloud Scotland Tech 50 rankings in October 2020.  Co-founder and CEO Allan Cannon has degrees from Strathclyde’s Department of Physics and is a Strathclyde Inspire Supporter. He and co-founder, CTO Kevin Quillien took part in the University’s Growth Advantage Programme and in the Scottish Centre of Excellence in Satellite Applications (SoXSA) Incubator programme, based  in the Glasgow City Innovation District.

Professor Sir Jim McDonald, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Strathclyde, said:

It is wonderful to see an early stage company such as R3-IoT, which has such firm Strathclyde roots, successfully concluding this seven-figure funding round with external investors.

 We look forward to following and supporting the Company’s future successes as it expands and grows.”

Missing piece

Allan Cannon said: “The funding round is clear recognition of the potential for our platform to broaden the reach of existing satellite technologies by focusing on what has been, up until now, the ‘missing piece’ in digitisation.   

“We have ambitious plans and are in a strong position to accelerate our international growth strategy and take advantage of the rapid advances in space communications and IoT technology, from our base in Scotland. The investment will drive continued innovation and commercialisation of our technology ahead of market launch and help establish North American operations, where we are already seeing strong demand.”

The company’s expansion plans will see 20 new roles created over the next 18 months in the company’s engineering, technical, sales and marketing functions.

Strathclyde Inspire supports and encourages entrepreneurship in all its forms. A dedicated Entrepreneurship Hub will become the focal point of Strathclyde Inspire on campus, in a new building being planned close to the University’s £89 million Technology and Innovation Centre at the heart of Scotland’s first Innovation District.