Working in Boston Tech: Sigfox
Sigfox is a leading Internet-of-Things (IoT) connectivity provider and also holds the distinction of currently being the only commercially available connectivity solution to provide reliability on a worldwide scale. The company has devices distributed in over 24 countries and nearly 7 million users.
Similar to several companies in the Boston tech scene, Sigfox has an international presence. Their headquarters are based in Paris, with other locations in Dubai, Madrid, Munich and, of course, Boston.
VentureFizz had a chance to connect with two of Sigfox’s employees, Communications Director, Kristi Mason and Communications Coordinator, Morgan Gregory, about the company's solutions and its presence in the U.S.
Also, Sigfox is hiring! Check out their BIZZpage for the company's openings!
Quick Hit Company Details
Year Founded: Created in 2010
Number of employees: 350 worldwide
How many people are located in the US? Approx. 50
Industry: Internet of Things (IoT), Telecommunications
Stage & Total Funding to Date: Series E, with over 300M in total funding backed by international telecom operators such as Telefonica, SK Telecom and NTT DOCOMO Ventures, and strategic investors such as Samsung, Intel Capital, Air Liquide, Total and SFDC
What’s the meaning behind the name, Sigfox?
Signal: It’s more than a frequency. It’s more than an impulse. It’s a powerful force that enhances communication and connects people to new opportunities - and to each other. + Fox: Just like the sly animal of the wild, you don’t always see our technology, but it’s there. Closer than you think. Thoroughly inconspicuous yet quick, crafty, and cunning. Signal + Fox= Sigfox
Can you share the details on what Sigfox does?
Sigfox is building a global dedicated public Internet of Things (IoT) network to connect billions of devices to the Internet while consuming as little energy as possible, as simply as possible.
It is predicted that by 2020, billions of objects worldwide will be connected to the Internet; their data will be stored in the cloud and will participate in the digitalization of our environment. Having a global, simple, low-cost and low-power connectivity solution is fundamental. This is the challenge that Sigfox addresses by deploying a low power wide area network (LPWAN), which is today present in 32 countries and anticipated to be present in 60 countries by the end of 2018.
Think of Sigfox as a network built for objects you never thought you could get data from, such a trash bin saying it is full, a shipping pallet saying where its location is, or grape vine saying it needs water. We are the network that enables these seemingly low cost assets items to become smart because of our cost efficiency.
Specifically in the US, how are you going about building out the LPWA (Low Power Wide Area) network for IoT connectivity service?
In 2016 we achieved 20% population coverage in the U.S. including major metropolitan areas such as Houston, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, New York City and Atlanta, to name a few.
In 2017 we are anticipating a 40% population coverage, which includes densification of the 19 regions the network is currently deployed in. Additional U.S. coverage areas added based on customer demands.
Current network deployment can be found on sigfox.com.
Can you share some pictures of what the antennas that you are using to building out the network look like?
Who are your customers?
The majority of our US customers are in proof of concept (POC) phase of their IoT deployment, so we are unable to share names at this point. However, one use case that has been documented is one hailing from the very first U.S. city we deployed our network, San Francisco. The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) is utilizing our network on a pilot measuring spikes in wastewater conductivity, along with tide conditions, with the goal to help d with regulatory compliance.
Beyond this specific use case, we are seeing a huge demand in asset tracking use cases. Vertically, we are engaged in POCs across several key verticals including supply chain logistics, smart facilities, oil and gas, and agriculture.
A couple of global use case examples include monitoring of services and care for at-home seniors through our partnerships with Z#BRE, and monitoring of distributed defibrillators (open/close door status, battery status) through our partnership with AIVIA.
What are your plans for growth in terms of hiring in 2017 across the US and for Boston?
2017 is all about building our network deployment team, which will be based in our soon-to-open office in Dallas. There will be more opportunities on the sales and administrative side in Q4 of this year in our Boston and San Francisco offices.
What are your company’s core values or how would you best describe the culture and working environment at Sigfox?
Disruptive! Which is how we approach everything, from our GTM strategy, to our culture, because at the core of Sigfox is our disruptive technology.
Anyone can put a foosball table in their office, stock a fridge with snacks and beer, and decor their office with bean bags and slides, but that’s veneer; it’s almost an ante nowadays to have that in an office that’s in tech.
At Sigfox, we think about the “why not” and “what ifs” of connectivity. But beyond that, we encourage our employees to act on their thoughts, to push the boundaries of connectivity, and what can be connected, because we see the value connectivity brings to enhance life and make changes that have a true impact.
For instance, we have the Sigfox Foundation, which aims to tackle humanitarian causes by using Low-powered connected sensors to help protect the environment and the human lives thanks to Sigfox connected sensors. This year the foundation launched “Now Rhinos Speak” mission, with a goal to help stop the genocide of rhinos using IoT. The foundation launched a new monitoring and anti-poaching system in Africa.
From a big picture point of view, what experience or traits do you typically look for when interviewing and hiring new employees at Sigfox?
Being collaborative and a self-starter is are two must haves in a candidate. We’re growing quickly, and it’s important for each employee to be proactive, challenge conventional, improve processes, and are not shy to voicing their opinions in a constructive manner. We look for candidates with a proven track record of rolling up their sleeves to help the greater goal of the company.
We are working on large projects that require the ability to work collaboratively with colleagues all over the world. We look for people who will pour passion into their work, and embrace our challenges.
What’s the best way to get a job at Sigfox?
Keep an eye on our BIZZpage and careers page on the Sigfox website! You can also add our recruiter, Charline Louet, on LinkedIn. She posts all of the job openings on her page, and she’s always happy to chat about our open and upcoming positions.
What can someone expect during the interview process?
Culture fit is really important to us here, so most interviews involve speaking to many people across multiple disciplines at Sigfox. While you may not be working directly with some of the people you interview with, we are a small office, and everyone has to step up outside of their role sometimes, which requires a collaborative mindset. We also have a lot of fun, and having a positive attitude is essential!
What can people expect over the course of their career at SIGFOX?
Variety and growth! As mentioned, we’re not a huge team, so there is a lot of opportunity to get experience in things that may are not part of your job description, or KPIs. If you perform well and build trust, your responsibilities will grow quickly. People can also expect to work with a great deal of autonomy at Sigfox.
What types of activities are employees involved in at or outside the office?
Oh boy. Well, we are diverse crowd, so there is a wide range of activities. Given our French roots, we love a good bottle of wine. On Thursday we “host” employee appreciation day where we toast to our accomplishments of the week over a bottle of vino.
We have a few folks in the office that have a passion for boating, so in the summers we charter a boat for a cruise or two around Boston Harbor. We’ve also been known to enjoy a fishing adventure as well.
Outside of the office you’ll find Sigfox’ians involved all around town, from Big Brothers Big Sisters, local churches, bocce and pool leagues, improv, running, and arts, to horticulture. We may be a small team, but we are certainly diverse!
Share one or more random fun facts!
Each year, Sigfox brings the global staff together in one location for a 3-day seminar. It’s a great way to meet and interact with colleagues from around the world. The seminars enable employees to interact beyond a digital capacity, spill a drink, and learn a little about other’s point of view. Since we are global team, we take this time to learn about our peers, their culture, test our language skills, share knowledge, and bond. It’s a great way to build a relationship with peers which encourages information exchange, and beyond that build a professional relationship on a truly international level.
Where have we gone? In 2016, the seminar was in Malta, an island in the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Africa. This year the seminar was hosted at our global headquarters in Labege, France and the French Atlantic Coast known for its long sandy beaches and golf.
Rapid Fire Questions
What’s on tap or favorite wine? Rose Thursdays!
Star Wars or Star Trek? Not sure this has ever been asked in our office.
iPhone or Android? iPhone
Favorite employee perk? Trips to France!
Coffee - hot or iced? Either, as long as it’s French pressed.
Wake up before the alarm or hit the snooze button? Are we still using alarms?! Another problem for IoT to solve!
What TV show or movie describes your culture? The Office mixed with Jason Bourne (we travel a lot and do cool missions)
What super hero could you see working at Sigfox? Violet Parr from the Incredibles
What music is playing in your office? Morgan’s Maracas when something exciting happens… not sure why people keep buying her instruments.
View from your office:
“Working for Sigfox is a great experience because of the innovative and cutting edge direction the company is going and the challenges that come along with that. I am forced to be creative with my solutions and get to work with a great team in Boston, across the country, and across the globe.”
Garrett Conroy, Network Site Acquisition
“Working for Sigfox has just been a really fun, challenging experience. Every day, I get to collaborate with dynamic, passionate people from all over the globe pooling their skills, experience, and ideas together to create this unique space in the IoT marketplace. It’s a great balance of very hard workers and super kind friends. There is no shortage of laughter in our office, which I consider an essential.”
Lani Aldrich, Office Manager