Boasting decades of experience in telecommunications, software engineering and venture-building from its Czech, Israeli and British founders, London-based embedded mobile connectivity startup Shaka said it’s now ready to come out of stealth mode, announcing a $1m seed funding round that it claimed could transform telecoms through embedded subscriber identity module (eSIM) technology.
Putting the round into context, the company said a lack of access to mobile infrastructure, legacy telco systems, lengthy timelines and high setup costs are among some of the biggest challenges for brands looking to monetise their customers with mobile plans.
Shaka said current research suggests the eSIM market is already worth $4.7bn, and that by 2025, 98% of operators globally plan to offer eSIM technology in mobile devices, and eSIM penetration is expected to jump from 20% in 2023 to 80% over the next five years. According to data from Statista, the impact of this change means the market value is expected to increase to $16.3bn by 2027, driven partially also by Apple’s switch to eSIM-only handsets.
The funding round is designed to allow Shaka to realise the potential of this market growth by onboarding a set of high-profile customers from across the entertainment, retail and fintech verticals who have already requested to offer mobile packages. The funding will also allow Shaka to start building on its global vision, expanding beyond the UK to enable brands to deploy networks to all of their customers around the world.
Shaka said innovation in eSIM technology is already revolutionising the telco space by disrupting a value chain dominated by traditional telecoms providers. The company is working with brands to offer mobile plans to customers instantly, at no cost, with a software-as-a-service end-to-end product and a “simple” application programming interface (API) layer, driving significant revenue opportunities and customer loyalty in the process.
“After banking and insurance, telecoms is next on the list of legacy industries ready to be disrupted and fundamentally uprooted with technology and a truly customer-first approach,” said Shaka cofounder Jonas Jelinek.
“Offering mobile plans to your customers – something that today takes over a year and costs millions of dollars to do, can be done with Shaka with a single API call.”
Read more about eSIM
- eSIM adoption drives growth and market disruption in cellular IoT: Study reveals that embedded subscriber identity modules have gained more popularity from users and device makers than mobile operators but that is changing thanks to a new specification for IoT eSIMs.
- 5G, eSIM now a must for IoT enterprises: Despite a recent step back by some tech players, research finds that enterprises are still embracing the internet of things and embedded subscriber identity module technology and are seeing positive outcomes.
- eSIM proves green credentials: Independent study by provider of adapted system integration technologies at wafer, chip and board level confirms eSIM as an environmentally friendly SIM solution.
- eSIM market to be worth over $4bn globally by end of 2023: 2023 set to be the year of embedded subscriber identity module as Google and Samsung look likely to emulate rival Apple, leading to a drastic increase in the number of smartphones with eSIM connectivity.
The round was led by UK seed fund Haatch; Purple Ventures, the venture capital (VC) firm backing purpose-led tech startups in central and eastern Europe; a number of prominent telecommunications angel investors; and Antler, a European private early stage VC for whom Shaka is one of its UK portfolio companies.
“Antler is doubling down on its investments in eSIM technology to bring information and communication to more people around the world,” said Antler director Sarah Finegan.
“We backed Airalo in Singapore, which is now bringing affordable connectivity to five million global users, and we believe Shaka has the same growth potential. This is a world-class founding team committed to disrupting one of the world’s largest industries. We are delighted to have supported Shaka from day zero and are very excited to see what impact they have on a global market worth $3tn.”
Fred Soneya, cofounder and partner at Haatch, said: “Brands are closer to consumers than ever before, giving them a unique vantage point to offer tailored mobile packages. Shaka recognises this shift, and is empowering businesses to leverage this proximity to better connect with and monetise their customers through mobile services.
“I can’t think of a better team … who impressed us with their individual track records in telco and as serial entrepreneurs, but also with the way they complement each other.”