China and US-based travel WiFi device maker Skyroam raises USD 20 million

The gadget is a must-have for many Chinese who travel to Southeast Asia or Europe.

Photo: Tuchong

Shenzhen-based Skyroam, which provides global WiFi service via its hand-held gadgets, has closed its Series C2 round, bagging USD 20 million, 36Kr reported on Tuesday.

Mesh Ventures and Phi Ventures led this round while Premier Ventures, Vickers Ventures, Jafco Ventures and GSA Ventures also participated.

Funds from this round will be used to develop new business in the “smartphone and Internet of Things sectors”, according to the firm.

Skyroam was founded in 2009 in Silicon Valley by Liu Jing. It features in-house virtual Subscriber Identification Model (SIM) technologies which have been embedded in hand-held portable gadgets.

Each Skyroam Solis X device, the newest edition, allows 10 smartphones or computers to have free, wireless, 4G internet connection for 16 hours before a recharging is needed.

Many Chinese choose to rent such a device before travelling overseas. However, Skyroam, which claims it has been profitable since 2018 in this business segment, does not lack rivals. A search on Taobao, Alibaba’s e-commerce platform, shows there are several similar products such as one called Roamingman.Skyroam in August just won an intellectual property infringement lawsuit against uCloudlink, the maker of the Roamingman and other devices. Ucloudlink has been banned from selling or allowing others to use some of its devices in the United States as of September 1 to avoid further infringing Skyroam’s patents.

Skyroam’s virtual SIM technologies can also be embedded into smartphones directly. Liu said developing countries that are involved in China’s Belt and Road initiatives will be the company’s priority. He said that in many such countries not one single telecom operator’s internet network can cover the entire country reliably so that smartphone users need to have two or more SIM cards to have full internet connection when they travel between different regions.

Skyroam supplied its technologies to a smartphone maker in Indonesia in 2018. It is now in discussions with Tecno, a brand popular in Africa, to roll out smartphones equipped with its technologies in the near future.