Loon

Deliver internet through balloons
Google Cemetery
GENERAL INFORMATION
Category:
Software & Hardware
Started:
2014
BUSINESS FAILURE
Cause:
Bad Business Model
Closed:
2021

Description

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.

Loon

Ad

Headyway logo white

How do you know that you are making a product or service that your customers want? If you want to discover products that customers love and deliver business results, this live stream is for you. Reserve your spot →

Ad

Sendinblue Logo White

Want to learn more about email marketing? Sendinblue offers a free email marketing course to help you improve your marketing campaigns today! Enroll now!

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, curated resources for founders, and updates on how I’m growing the site to $10k/mo. Join other +7,000 startup founders!