Down to earth: why the failure of the Russian project of cheap communication

Photo: Konstantin Lemeshev/TASS

Yaliny Russian project aimed at the provision of cheap satellite communication, postponed indefinitely. The company has not found investors, despite interest from major foreign players

The company Yaliny Ltd, established in 2013 by Russian entrepreneur Vadim Teplyakov for the provision of satellite communications services, has still not found necessary for the initial stage of investment, told RBC himself Teplyakov.

In September 2015 at the official presentation of the project he was talking about the launch of 144 low-orbit satellites and the installation of 40 base stations on the ground. Due to this, in 2020 the company intended to cover the entire planet with satellite communication and make it the cost to users is lower than other operators. It was planned that communication will be through a special modem that is using Wi-Fi to distribute a satellite signal to a conventional device — smartphones, tablets, etc. Thus, the subscriber can receive mobile communication services across the world with no roaming charges.

Until the end of 2016 Yaliny had to run two test spacecraft, but this has not happened. As told RBC Vadim Teplyakov, in the main part of the project required more than $1.5 billion, but the company was unable to find even $6 million for the creation of a single test apparatus.

Investors do not believe in the project

According to Teplyakov, since the creation of the project was invested about $4 million of his personal funds and trenches from a few business angels.

The loan negotiations were conducted with private companies and with government agencies. “Most first lit project. But after careful analysis it became clear that it is quite complex from a technological point of view of history, which will require in the future a few large rounds of investment and does not suggest a quick return on investment, they were gone. Foreign financing was closed, nobody wants to work with Russia”, — said the founder Yaliny.

To attract investors Yaliny counted including by obtaining resident status in SKOLKOVO, but a grant from the Foundation she never received. Teplyakov reminded that SKOLKOVO invests only in terms of co-financing. “This is a large amount of accounting, bureaucratic work. To do it for the sake of a few million did not make sense, and for large amounts, we don’t find a second source of financing”, — says the businessman.

According to the head of the advertising Agency “A Promotion,” Alexander Panov, who worked part-time as a marketing Director Yaliny, the company refused to grant “SKOLKOVO”, due to the fact that her Bank account had been blocked by the tax authorities. He also claims that the company owed almost all the staff, and her office is “practically ceased to work.”

Teplyakov has confirmed that the company had a claim from the tax office and the arrears of wages, but assured that the debts are extinguished and Yaliny all calculated. He explained, the company reduced staff and moved to a more modest office. If in the best years, there were around 70 people, now no more than 25, of which more than half of part-time and part-time employment.

Also Yaliny with the aim of generating income currently in talks about selling “parts” of their developments — software and devices used in spacecraft (star and sun sensor, power supply and control of electric jet engines, on-Board computer, etc.). The company also earns by performing third-party commercial orders, and implements several projects in the field of communication systems for aviation, said Teplyakov.

Who owns the future

According to Teplyakov, from the project he refused, but the implementation period is shifted by a half to two years. He still hopes to attract investors from among the major business and financial groups.

According to estimates of J’son & Partners Consulting, in the coming years worldwide announced the launch of more than 5 thousand satellites. The largest group — 4 thousand satellites planned to create a Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) Elon musk for providing remote areas with Internet at an affordable price. This company is expected to launch the first test satellite devices in 2017. One of the investors of the company were made by Google, giving the project $1 billion In November 2016 of the Federal communications Commission of the US issued Space Exploration license Holdings for the development of the satellite system in non-geostationary orbit.

Another OneWeb satellite project involves launching satellites 720 (later the plan was corrected to 648 units) and provision of services beginning in 2019. One of the investors of this project was the Virgin Group Richard Branson. The creation of satellites engaged in Airbus Defence and Space. It was planned that the launch vehicle will carry the French company Arianespace on Russian rockets-carriers “Union” in 2017.

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