Kinéis has reached its capital-raising target of 100 million euros. CLS, CNES, Bpifrance via the fund for Industrial Project Companies (SPI), financed by the ‘Investments for the Future’ Programme and the European Investment Bank, Ifremer, Thales, CELAD, BNP Paribas Développement, HEMERIA and other industrial and financial partners are investing in and supporting Kinéis’ ambition to provide universal satellite connectivity. 25 nanosatellites will be added to complement the service which has been provided by the Argos system to scientific and environmental communities for more than 40 years. Kinéis will also develop its activity in the new markets opened up by the IoT.
Kinéis has completed an historic capital-raising campaign, established strategic commercial partnerships with Bouygues Telecom, Suez, the Wize Alliance and Arribada, and filled its order book. This new French global connectivity provider, which already has 8 operational satellites, has thus become the first IoT satellite connectivity player to finance its development, from the construction of its constellation to the launch of its 25 nanosatellites, scheduled for 2022, and the development of its ground segment.
This young company is not only fulfilling its financial and industrial promises, but also its commercial and partnership commitments. Kinéis is getting ahead of the pack and taking its place in the NewSpace landscape.
Kinéis® becomes the first nanosatellite constellation dedicated to the IoT, to be fully financed
To democratize access to satellite connectivity and to connect millions of objects simply, cheaply and anywhere on the planet, technical prowess alone is not enough. Raising 100 million euros for a satellite IoT project is unprecedented and makes Kinéis, which is receiving significant support from strategic institutions, an unrivalled private player in the market.
Alexandre Tisserant, who was appointed President of Kinéis at the same time, declares: “We are very proud to have reached this major milestone. With the funds needed to launch our constellation, we are now free to focus entirely on satellite manufacturing and commercial deployment.” The unfailing support of CNES, the French space agency, underlines the project’s importance and signals that we are benefiting from major technical support.
The Kinéis constellation already consists of Argos operational payloads on seven satellites and a prototype nanosatellite, ANGELS, which was placed in orbit on 18 December last. France’s first industrial nanosatellite, developed with the support of CNES and operated from the Toulouse Space Centre, carries technology similar to that of Kinéis. This launch and the first successful reception of messages, bodes well for the future Kinéis system, which is being developed by the same industrial team: Thales Alenia Space (architect of the system, which is in charge of the development of payloads with Syrlinks, and which is responsible for ground stations and the mission control centre) and HEMERIA (which is responsible for the satellite platforms and integration).
The project is intended to be exemplary regarding environmental issues in that it uses nanosatellites which, in addition to complying with France’s Space Operations Act, are intended to avoid space debris. The Kinéis satellites, weighing less than 30 kg, will be equipped with an electric propulsion system that will secure end-of-life de-orbiting and enable collision-avoidance capabilities.
Coherent and conscientious governance
Kinéis benefits from a new, solid and coherent capital structure. A team of industrial space experts and financial partners have joined forces with CLS, which initiated the project with support from two strategic players, CNES and Bpifrance, via the SPI fund. As Alexandre Tisserant explains: “The capital that has now been raised will finance the construction of the constellation of 25 nanosatellites, 20 ground stations, the IT infrastructure for controlling the constellation, data processing and distribution, the development of new products, the launch of the satellites and the international expansion of Kinéis.”
Kinéis provides strategic connectivity for CLS’s activities; CLS created the spin-off in 2019 and remains the biggest shareholder with 32% of the capital. Christophe Vassal, CLS CEO and President of the Kinéis Supervisory Board says: “Achieving our capital raising goal is a big step for our project. The ambitious Kinéis programme will ensure the future of the Argos system. For more than 40 years, we have been using this system to help scientists, NGOs and governments understand our planet, protect it and manage our natural resources in a sustainable way. Kinéis has already yielded good results and we are confident that its success will lay firm foundations for our future growth.”
“With Kinéis, French NewSpace is becoming a reality” emphasises Jean-Yves Le Gall, CNES President. The Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales, founder of the Argos system, is demonstrating through Kinéis that it is playing a strategic role in the emergence of French NewSpace: “With ANGELS, the first stage in this adventure, CNES is proving that it is possible to develop, manufacture and launch satellites in two and a half years, whereas previously it took between five and ten years. We are very proud that CNES, through Kinéis, is promoting the development and excellence of the French space industry. For us, Kinéis is a strategic investment!”
Magali Joëssel, Director of SPI fund at Bpifrance, declares: “We are very proud to be participating in the development of the first European nanosatellite constellation dedicated to the IoT. Kinéis has many assets for meeting the needs of industry in addressing the IoT and providing solutions for environmental and climate concerns, thanks to its global coverage. Kinéis will give a crucial boost to the French NewSpace industry. Through this project, Bpifrance is helping to develop strong skills and establish a NewSpace sector in France.”
The industry leaders Thales and HEMERIA have also decided to participate financially in the project. They have thus demonstrated their confidence in the Kinéis business model and have positioned themselves as key partners.
Ifremer, Institut Français de Recherche pour l’Exploitation de la Mer (French Research Institute for Exploitation of the Sea), which was a shareholder in CLS a few days ago, reaffirmed its confidence in the group, and is now investing in Kinéis.
CELAD, an IT services company specialised in information systems, industrial and embedded systems and based in the Toulouse region, has decided to embark on a global connectivity project for the future.
BNP Développement in its turn has marked its confidence in the project by investing in it with its own funds.
ETHICS Group, a management consulting firm specialized in the transformation of organisations, based in Toulouse too, has also committed itself to the project so that Kinéis shines as an innovative and exemplary company in its way of operating in collective intelligence.
Finally, several private investors, passionate about space and eager to accompany Europe’s first concrete NewSpace project, have also joined the adventure and completed the capital-raising round.
Remarkable business and partnership results in only 8 months of existence
With more than a score of subscriptions to the Space Priority Program, since its opening last September, the commercial launch of Kinéis has fulfilled all its promises. 10,000 chipsets(1) and several hundred additional electronic modules(2) are already in stock and ready for shipment. Orders on a larger scale are expected at the beginning of the year.
CLS is also developing several large-scale programmes based on Kinéis connectivity, for monitoring herds (buffalo, reindeer), oceanographic buoys and fishing-related equipment. This will lead to many orders in the future.
At the last Paris Air Show, Kinéis announced the signing of three strategic partnerships respectively with Objenious by Bouygues Télécom, Suez and the Wize Alliance. Philippe Cola, IoT Architect at Bouygues Telecom, enthusiastically states that “the LoRa-Kinéis hybrid solution is under development and will be made available to our customers for testing in the coming months”. For their part, Suez and the Wize Alliance are continuing their work to integrate Kinéis space technology into their smart water meters.
Advanced Tracking, specialising in satellite communications, has ordered 500 Kinéis modules in order to design and market as many beacons within the year.
Kinéis is also developing a beacon and a mobile application dedicated to adventurers in remote areas. Kinéis Adventures is also connected to the COSPAS-SARSAT institutional civil protection system. This solution was successfully presented at the AlpinMesse in Austria in November 2019. The final product is expected by the end of the year.
Proving that the Kinéis system is being emulated, Arribada(3) has developed a widely-reputed electronic design and an open source software library to allow as many people as possible to simply create their own Argos transceiver.
The technologies developed by Kinéis are also attracting a lot of interest from the world of innovation: in 2019 Kinéis was a finalist at the DB Schenker start-up competition at the Viva Tech trade fair. INSA students are also working on a hybrid transceiver demonstrator for dual-link capability with Kinéis satellite connectivity and NB-IoT networks based on Sierra Wireless technologies.
(1)Radio chip for connecting to the satellite link
(2)Electronic board integrating the chipset and facilitating the development of a transceiver
(3)Initiative of the Shuttleworth Foundation
Founded in 2019, Kinéis is a satellite operator and a global connectivity provider. It inherited the forty years of CNES and CLS expertise with the Argos system to develop reliable technology that provides easy access to useful satellite data. In order to make life easier for professionals and individuals and to encourage them to use its product and services, Kinéis locates and connects objects wherever they are on the planet. For its first year of existence, Kinéis achieved a turnover of nearly 5 million euros and already employs 25 people.
CLS, a subsidiary of CNES and CNP is an international company that has been leading the way in Earth observation and monitoring solutions since 1986. Its vision is to design and deploy innovative solutions to enable us to understand and protect our planet, and manage its resources in a sustainable way. The company supports the international community in its effort to understand the past, observe the present and prepare for the future. Its resilient solutions provide keys to enable strategic stakeholders to adapt and address the climate and environmental challenges we are facing.
Its systems also make it possible to assess the impact of industrial and economic activities on the environment. CLS employs 720 people at its headquarters in Toulouse and 24 other sites around the world. The company operates in 5 strategic business sectors: environmental monitoring and climate, sustainable fisheries management, fleet management, energy, mining and infrastructure, and maritime safety.
The CLS Group achieved a turnover of almost 135 million euros in 2019 and plans to increase it to more than 150 million in 2020.
CNES (Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales) is the public establishment responsible for proposing French space policy to the Government and implementing it in Europe. It designs and puts satellites in orbit and invents the space systems of tomorrow; it promotes the emergence of new services that are useful in everyday life. CNES, created in 1961, initiates major space projects, launchers and satellites and is the natural partner of industry for pushing innovation. CNES has nearly 2,500 employees, men and women who are passionate about space, which opens up infinite, innovative fields of application; it intervenes in five areas: the Ariane launcher, scientific research, observation, telecommunications and defence. CNES is a major player in technological innovation, economic development and industrial policy in France. It also establishes scientific partnerships and is involved in numerous international projects. France, represented by CNES, is the main contributor to the European Space Agency (ESA).
‘Investments for the Future’ Programme (PIA)
Endowed with 57 billion euros, the “French Strategic Investment Program” (PIA), lead by the General Secretary for Investment under the authority of the Prime minister, has been implemented to finance innovative and promising investments all over the territory, in order to allow France to increase its potential for long-term growth and jobs creation. The third component of the PIA, endowed with 10 billion euros, is part of the 57 billion euros Grand Plan d’Investissement (GPI) committed by the Government in 2017 and for a five years period in order to support structural reforms and respond to four major challenges in France: carbon neutrality, better access to employment, competitiveness through innovation and building the digital state.
Bpifrance and SPI fund, Industrial Project Companies
Bpifrance finances companies – at every stage of their development – by granting credit, guarantees and investing in them. Bpifrance helps them launch their innovation projects and expand internationally. Bpifrance now also supports their export activities through a wide range of products. Consulting, academic research, networking and acceleration programmes for start-ups, small and medium-sized companies (SMEs) and intermediate-sized companies (ETIs) are also included in the offer for entrepreneurs.
Thanks to Bpifrance and its 48 regional offices, entrepreneurs can rely on a close, unique and efficient partner to help them meet their challenges.
The SPI fund, managed by Bpifrance on behalf of the French government as part of the ‘Investments for the Future’ Programme and by the European Investment Bank as part of the ‘Juncker plan’, are designed to support the development of industrial projects that offer the best business and job prospects for the industrial sectors. They act as informed equity investors in companies with industrialisation projects selected on the basis of their growth potential, the current positioning of the industry and their contribution to the ecological and energy transition. They are thus one of the financial levers of new French industry.
Ifremer is recognized worldwide as one of the leading institutes in marine science and technology, with a dual objective of sustainable development and open science. It conducts research, innovates and produces expertise to protect and restore the ocean, exploit its resources responsibly, and share marine knowledge and data to create new opportunities for economic growth that respects the marine environment. With offices on all of France’s coastlines and in its overseas territories, its laboratories are located on some twenty sites in the three major oceans: the Indian Ocean, the Atlantic Ocean and the Pacific Ocean. On behalf of the government, it operates the French Oceanography Fleet for the benefit of the national scientific community. It designs its own state-of-the-art craft and equipment to explore and observe the ocean, from the shore to the open ocean and from the bottom of the oceans to their interface with the atmosphere. Open to the international scientific community, its 1,500 researchers, engineers and technicians are advancing knowledge on one of the last unexplored frontiers of our planet; they are helping to inform public policy and contributing to innovation for a sustainable blue economy. Their mission is also to raise public awareness of maritime issues. Founded in 1984, Ifremer is a public establishment of an industrial and commercial nature (EPIC), with a budget of around 240 million Euros. It is placed under the joint supervision of the Ministries of Higher Education, Research and Innovation (MESRI), Ecological and Inclusive Transition (MTES), and Agriculture and Food (MAA).
Thales (Euronext Paris: HO) is a global high-tech leader which is shaping tomorrow’s world today. The Group offers solutions, services and products to its customers in the fields of aeronautics, space, transport, digital identity and security, and defence. With 80,000 employees in 68 countries, Thales generated revenue of €19 billion in 2018 (on a pro forma basis including Gemalto). In particular, Thales invests in digital innovations – connectivity, big data, artificial intelligence and cybersecurity – key technologies during decisive moments for companies, organisations and governments.
Thales Alenia Space
Combining more than forty years of experience and a unique range of expertise, talents and cultures, Thales Alenia Space’s architects design and deliver innovative solutions for telecommunications, navigation, Earth observation and environmental management, exploration, science and orbital infrastructures. Institutions, governments and companies rely on Thales Alenia Space to design, build and deliver satellite systems: to geolocate and connect people and objects anywhere in the world, to observe our planet and to optimise the use of Earth’s resources as well as those of our Solar System. Thales Alenia Space is convinced that space brings a new dimension to humanity for building a better and sustainable life on Earth. A joint venture company owned by Thales (67%) and Leonardo (33%), Thales Alenia Space had a turnover of approximately €2.5 billion in 2018 and employs approximately 8,000 people in 9 countries.
CELAD is an independent company based in Toulouse (France), specialising in Information Systems and Embedded Systems Engineering. Founded in 1992, CELAD generated sales of over €100 million in 2019. The company now has more than 1200 engineers in France.
CELAD has solid expertise in geolocation, IoT and Data Processing technologies. CELAD’s participation in the KINEIS adventure is evidence of our ambition, our willingness to undertake projects and invest to create wealth in France, and our passion for advanced engineering, the space field, and new technologies. This project is part of our strategy and we know it will make us grow!
BNP Paribas Développement
BNP Paribas Développement, an autonomous subsidiary wholly owned by the BNP Paribas SA International Banking Group since 1987, specialises in capital investment for regional SMEs/SMIs. In France it has a portfolio of more than 430 holdings with more than €1 billion invested. Its development strategy combines proximity to regional economic players and professionalism in the management of its portfolio. It thus puts its experience and knowledge of the field at the service of the managers and companies it accompanies with a view to their development and enrichment.
BNP Paribas Développement operates exclusively in equity capital, with investment amounts ranging from €1 million to €20 million. It acquires minority stakes in the capital of SMEs/SMIs in order to support their development and transmission over the long term. In addition to the financial resources made available to a company to ensure stable resources, BNP Paribas Développement provides support and experience to managers and their teams, while respecting their independence, as it does not wish to interfere in the day-to-day management of these companies. Moreover, the contribution of our brand is a guarantee of reliability and reputation for the companies we support.
HEMERIA is a major player in the space industry. HEMERIA designs and manufactures first-class space products that meet the needs of corporate and scientific customers in commercial, defence and safety applications. HEMERIA develops high-performance nanosatellites giving non-technical professionals a fast, competitive and efficient access to space. HEMERIA is also one of the top three European suppliers of panels, thermal protections and interconnection devices for bigger satellites.
Based in Toulouse-Blagnac, ETHICS Group consists of more than 110 collaborators who are organised around 5 operational consultancy brands who are specialized in supporting every instance in the life of a public or private organisation: transformation, human relations development, strategic communication, co-construction and concertation, digital transformation, digitalization…
Within the framework of the Ethics Village, the first third-place for concerted transformation, ETHICS Group welcomes and accompanies more than 2 000 people each year with the values of their managerial innovation movement “The Good Company”, the iconic emblem of organisations that are agile, performing and where it is good to work.
Extremely sensitive to the challenges presented by « blue growth » and of pleasure sailing that is more sustainable and responsible, ETHICS Group is particularly proud to accompany the universal, humanist and altruistic ambitions of Kinéis.
Read press release concerning CLS new shareholders