Helium

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Helium Inc.
Helium.jpg
Founded 2013
Headquarters San Francisco, CA
Key People Shawn Fanning, founder, advisor; Amir Haleem, founder, CEO; Sean Carey, founder; Marc Nijdam, CTO; Frank Mong, COO; Chris Bruce, VP product & technology
Employees 11-50
Products IoT, blockchain technology development
Twitter @helium
LinkedIn Profile
Facebook Page
Website Helium Homepage
Blog Helium blog

Helium is a technology development company founded by Shawn Fanning, creator of the music streaming service Napster, as well as Amir Haleem and Sean Carey. The company specializes in IoT and blockchain technology.

Products and Services[edit]

The company's primary concern is creating technology to facilitate a peer-to-peer wireless network, which Helium calls "The People's Network." The People's Network is a wireless network consisting of wireless hotspots connected to a user's WiFi router, which cost $495 and include free shipping to U.S. users. These hotspots can't carry as much data as a WiFi router, but as a tradeoff, they are capable of projecting a WiFi signal at a greater range than a typical router.

The network functions as a sort of wireless platform in which other IoT services can function. A few examples of this are Invisileash, a service that allows users to track pets; Lime, a scooter-sharing service; and Agulus, a service that helps farmers communicate with brokers and negotiate prices for their crops, as well as collecting agricultural data from sensors in the physical environment around the network's hotspots. The network launched first in Austin, Texas in June 2019. According to the company, 50 to 100 Helium hotspots, if well-enough dispersed, are capable of covering a large city.[1][2]

Tokenized data sharing[edit]

The Helium blockchain uses two types of digital tokens to help it function. The first is called Helium, after the name of the network and the company that created it. Helium hotspots mine Helium tokens by performing various kinds of network operations from verifying the locations of nodes (hotspots) in the network, verifying data sequences sent from node to node, and performing other services that use wireless data. Once acquired, Helium tokens can be traded for goods and services on the network, or "burned." The second tokens, called "Data Credits," can only be earned by "burning" Helium. These Data Credits are used to pay for the cost of transferring data on the network. Data Credits cannot leave the wallet that created them, except to be spent on the network for transferring data. There is no pre-mine or supply cap for Helium, and 50,000 new tokens are expected to be minted monthly. The creator of Helium's whitepaper, Amir Haleem, designed the network to reach a sort of equilibrium in which the network constantly creates as many tokens as it burns. The network uses a similar consensus algorithm to delegated proof of stake called "Proof-of-Coverage," in which nodes that prove to be the most reliable over time verify blocks and earn tokens for doing so.[3][4]

Background[edit]

Helium was founded in 2013 by Shawn Fanning, Amir Haleem, and Sean Carey. The company raised equity funding from multiple venture capital firms including Khosla Ventures, FirstMark Capital, GV (formerly Google Ventures), HSB/MunichRe Ventures, and others.[5] In June 2019, Helium announced the close of a $15 million Series C funding round led by Union Square Ventures and Multicoin Capital, bringing the company's total funding up to $54 million.[6]

Key People[edit]

  • Shawn Fanning, founder, advisor
  • Amir Haleem, founder, CEO
  • Sean Carey, founder
  • Marc Nijdam, CTO
  • Frank Mong, COO
  • Chris Bruce, VP product & technology

References[edit]