Learn how to validate your startup idea by pre-selling it, for only $80 (includes a free 1-hour consultancy call).


Deliver internet through balloons
Google Cemetery
Software & Hardware
Bad Business Model


Loon was a project that aimed to deliver a wireless internet connection to remote and hardly reachable areas. It had a vast network of solar-powered balloons floating in the stratosphere or at an altitude between 11 miles (18km.) and 16 miles (25km.)

The balloons would catch a signal from an earth-based internet provider and transmit it from one balloon to the next until it reached users via an antenna located on their buildings or through an LTE technology for delivering directly to their mobile devices.



On Deck's White Logo

On Deck is where top talent comes to accelerate their ideas and build companies, surrounded by a world-class community.

Cause of Failure

The idea behind the Loon project was for Alphabet, Google’s parent company, to bring the internet, and Google’s services, to a billion people on the planet. It was aimed at the ones living in remote areas with underdeveloped infrastructure. It was also supposed to provide connection in places affected by natural disasters.

And it was successful up to a point. In 2017 Loon provided internet to users in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria hit the country. In 2020 the project partnered with AT&T in the USA to provide their customers with mobile communication during disasters.

In the same year Loon started a partnership with Telkom in Kenya to provide internet access to the most inaccessible regions of the country. It also set a $10-million fund for supporting the development of internet and connectivity infrastructure in Kenya. 

All seemed to be going well, but as Loon’s CEO Alastair Westgarth shared, the company wasn’t able to achieve the low cost needed for a “long-term, sustainable business.” That is why in January 2021, they decided to gradually discontinue the project. The employees engaged with the project would hopefully be redeployed in Alphabet.

The All-In-One Newsletter for Startup Founders

Every week, I’ll send you Failory’s latest interviews and articles and 3 curated resources for founders. Join +25,000 other startup founders!