The Vaud-based Astrocast and its nano-satellites go public in Oslo

While most Swiss startups cross the Atlantic to go public (IPO), Astrocast has its sights set on Norway. The Vaud-based company announced on Wednesday that it had raised 40 million francs on the Oslo stock exchange, a website that is part of the portfolio of operator Euronext. Among its new investors is Palantir. Well known in tech circles, this Californian company is active in data analysis and surveillance.

Does not compete with Elon Musk

By increasing its financial capacity, Astrocast wants to accelerate its pace of growth, which aims to find a place in the sun in the booming Internet of Things (IoT for Internet of Things). According to recent estimates by Fortune Business Insights, this industry could reach a value of nearly $1.5 trillion by 2027. By enabling billions of electronic devices to communicate with each other to transmit information, the IoT spans a wide spectrum, from so-called smart agriculture to industry, including autonomous mobility.

To read: The sulfurous Palantir is deployed in Switzerland

Sectors for which Astrocast, founded in 2014 in the Lausanne region, intends to offer its services. With its constellation of minisatellites currently being deployed, the company is also targeting players in freight transport or hydrocarbon extraction. Thanks to a small electronics module the size of a matchbox, a company active in the supply chain could, for example, permanently locate its containers via Astrocast satellites.

If on a clear day, good visual acuity allows you to see the convoys of satellites from Starlink, a company founded by Elon Musk, the same does not happen with the ten featherweights that Astrocast has already placed in orbit. Weighing 5 kilos and costing 500,000 francs to produce, these satellites clearly do not evolve in the same league. While the American billionaire is targeting large companies, for example Netflix, and individuals offering them an expensive broadband connection, the Swiss operator is interested in niche markets, for example offering the network in remote regions.

To read: You’ll have to get used to seeing Elon Musk’s satellite train in the sky

Currently, only 10% of the Earth’s surface is covered by the cellular network. Astrocast co-founder and director Fabien Jordan indicates in the press release published Wednesday that he intends to deploy 100 satellites by the end of 2024.

+166% since opening

Founded in 2014, the EPFL spin-off, which employs around 70 people in Chavannes-près-Renens, has grown rapidly, notably establishing partnerships with Airbus and the European Space Agency. It expects to break even in 2024. Last year it recorded an operating loss of almost 4.5 million francs, 4 million more than in 2019.

Read too: Jurgi Camblong, CEO of Sophia Genetics: “I learned to be careful”

A logical development, Waldensian society investing massively to maintain its agenda. Considered high risk, his entrepreneurial project won investors this Wednesday. At the end of the session, its security was traded for 85 Norwegian kroner (8.80 francs), up 166% from the opening.

After Sophia Genetics in July on Wall Street, Astrocast is the second French-speaking start-up to venture into the stock market this year. On Monday, the Zurich-based shoe maker On Shoes, meanwhile, confirmed its intention to hold its IPO in New York, recalling the disinterest of young innovative companies in the Swiss stock market.

Read again: Start-ups still avoid the Swiss stock exchange

To counter this exodus, it announced in July the launch of a specific website for SMEs and start-ups. Awaiting authorization from the competent financial authorities. To increase its visibility with this type of companies, it also signed a partnership with the organization Venturelab, which supports the launch of young technological companies.

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