British scrappy start up Avanti Communications has been biting at the heels of the big boys for a while, but not necessarily impressing its public investors, who perhaps lack the nerve for space adventures.
It announced it raised $136m in bonds and equity this morning to finish paying for its fourth satellite whilst intriguingly Sky News rumoured that one of the buyers is global titan of private equity KKR.
KKR once owned one half of Panamsat, which they sold to Intelsat before it became a zombie, so, IF true, they are a savvy investor to bag. Avanti claim to have 200Gb of HTS capacity which dwarves anything any other operator can offer in Africa, and they have it five years before any of the crazy new breed of LEO projects could get launched in their wildest dreams.
It will be interesting to see how the big boys, some lacking a strategy for Africa, respond.