GoTenna is best known for its outdoors-oriented consumer products that let you text and share locations between smartphones off the grid. But the company has found that government work — military, fire, rescue — is the real market, and is pursuing it with a vengeance on the strength of a $24 million funding round.
“We’ve been busy!” said Daniela Perdomo, founder and CEO of the company, in an interview. “We have a good problem, which is a technology that can be so foundationally enabling for so many use cases.”
GoTenna’s core tech is mesh networking over radio frequencies normally used for walkie-talkies: long range but low bandwidth. Yet if all you need to send are GPS coordinates or a short message, it’s perfectly sufficient and works great where mobile and satellites connections are impractical. Just on the device, smaller than a deck of cards, and you can chat over miles in the middle of nowhere with your climbing partners or back country ski pals.
In the last couple years the company has shifted its priorities from consumer tech — the GoTenna and Mesh series of gadgets — to filling the needs of public sector clients that have been asking for something like this for years.
Firefighters, military operations, local law enforcement, search and rescue — many were using bulky, over-engineered, expensive solutions that haven’t changed much in decades. GoTenna works with nearly any smartphone and instantly creates a mesh network that can span miles, making it perfect for off-grid communications.