Blockchain development outfit Nova Labs is starting to come into the spotlight once again. After taking a backseat to regulation and market-crash-related news, the company behind the Helium (HNT-USD) network is starting to drum up good press. A sizable acquisition is underway, helping the company to bolster its fleet of nearly a million internet hotspots with 5G capabilities.
Helium is bringing a fresh take on internet connectivity. In the last year, interest in the network has exploded. The project threatens traditional internet service providers (ISPs) by cutting them out of the equation entirely. Rather than paying for these companies’ services, one can join Helium’s fast-growing network of peer-to-peer hotspots.
These hotspots exist all over the world, in any place that a user wants to activate one. As of right now, pieces of this hardware number nearly 930,000. While most popular in the U.S. and Europe, Helium has a presence on six continents in some capacity. Other users connect devices to these hotspots, paying with crypto credits that are far cheaper than ISP bills. In return for hosting connected devices, hardware deployers earn crypto rewards, making the process a way to passively generate income similarly to crypto mining.
Nova Labs, the company behind the project, has been attracting a lot of attention from investors as its user base continues to grow. In May, the company received $200 million in funding from a number of investors. Tiger Global led the round, joined by a16z and Seven Seven Six. However, it also attracted investments from the likes of Nokia (NYSE:NOK)-backed NGP Capital and European telecom giant Telekom Innovation Pool.
Nova Labs Acquires FreedomFi to Bolster 5G Network
Obviously, these recent investments in Nova Labs involve some big names in the telecom space — names that stand in direct competition with Helium. That’s because Helium is on the very cutting edge of the 5G phenomenon. And, given its decentralized nature, it stands to roll out this technology even faster than traditional ISPs ever could. Thus, it seems these companies are hedging their bets, anticipating great success by Nova Labs. And now, the company’s acquisition of FreedomFi will only boost this case.
Without much in the way of financial details, Nova Labs is announcing today its acquisition of the company. FreedomFi specializes in creating software for decentralized connectivity. In March, the company raised $9.5 million from the likes of Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM) and Samsung. As part of the acquisition, Nova Labs will be absorbing all of FreedomFi’s 30 employees.
The news is massive, given Nova Labs’ recent push into 5G. In September 2021, the company announced and rolled out 5G-compatible Helium hotspots. Unlike traditional ISPs, which much construct expensive towers to accommodate their own centralized 5G networks, Helium’s network builds itself. It’s extremely cost-effective and it mobilizes users themselves, making the project’s network much more fast-growing than these ISPs.
Though it worked with FreedomFi before on its 5G hotspots, having the whole company under its umbrella will serve Nova Labs even better, bringing the expertise of FreedomFi developers into the fold full-time. FreedomFi has also pioneered its own “powered by FreedomFi” program, working with hardware vendors to make its technology more accessible. Of course, it only makes sense that Nova Labs will build on this infrastructure for its expansion.
On the date of publication, Brenden Rearick did not have (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the InvestorPlace.com Publishing Guidelines.