State of The People’s Network: Nova Labs and The Helium Foundation (Part 2)


State of The People’s Network: Nova Labs and The Helium Foundation (Part 2)

Posted by Parley Labs ,Apr 12th 2022
State of The People’s Network: Nova Labs and The Helium Foundation (Part 2)

State of The People’s Network: Nova Labs and The Helium Foundation (Part 2)

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With the dust settled from Helium’s name change to Nova Labs and DeWi (Decentralized Wireless Alliance) becoming the Helium Foundation, we are back with part two of our three-part blog series to talk about the ‘what now’ as the network continues to grow and mature.


  • Helium Inc. has changed their name to Nova Labs and the Decentralized Wireless Alliance (DeWi) is now officially the Helium Foundation.
  • Nova Labs will continue to contribute to core network technologies and services, but sole ownership of the network is now decentralized.
  • All Helium branding and IP will transfer ownership to the Helium Foundation, who will also take over responsibility for the maintenance and support of the Helium Blockchain. This includes the Helium console.
  • There are opportunities for grants through the Helium Foundation for infrastructure tooling, education and case studies.

The Birth of Nova Labs

On March 30, 2022, Helium Inc. announced it had raised $200M in a series D fundraise and changed its name to Nova Labs. For over 10 years Helium has been building IoT solutions and devices, but over the last year what the world now knows as the Helium Network has reached over 54k cities and 170 countries.

Why the name change? This will help any confusion between the company Nova Labs, which is a private for profit company, and the Helium Network, which is an open decentralized network owned and operated by a collective group of community members and stakeholders.

It is important for a decentralized network, owned and operated by many, to have a diversified group of contributors operating the various pieces of the network. This goes beyond gateways and validators, but to build and offer various tools and platforms that enable the use of the network. For example, the Helium Console, a network server that allows LoRaWAN devices to send data packets on the Helium Network, was wholly owned and operated by Helium Inc (before the name change to Nova Labs), a single central entity. The network is designed to have multiple Consoles, by pushing for more Console operators, it further decentralizes the network and its ability to scale.

So what will Nova Labs do now? Are they still going to support the network? Nova Labs will continue to be the main contributors to the core technology that revolves around the Helium Network, but will not be the owner or maintainer of it, that job will be taken over by the Helium Foundation.

Two important factors in the success of the Helium network are community contributions and strategic partnerships. With Nova Lab’s series D raise, they’ve further established the latter. You have Deutsche Telekom’s (T-Mobile) strategic investment fund and Tiger Global to name a few.

“Tiger Global is an investment firm focused on public and private companies in the global Internet, software, consumer, and financial technology industries.”

These two companies have a focus on investing in the future of wireless and internet technologies. Strategic partnerships are important because it aligns large players to support the growth of the network and its success. We should expect to see more announcements with the likes of Dish Network and Goodyear looking to take advantage of the connectivity the Helium Network will provide for various types of applications such as connected mobility.

“Goodyear Ventures recently participated in Nova Lab’s series D financing round. With connected mobility playing a key role in the future of transportation, this investment allows Goodyear to collaborate on efficient and accessible connectivity solutions.”

The Helium Foundation

To understand why The Helium Foundation (DeWi) exists in the first place, you’ll want to look at examples in the wild such as the WiFi Alliance and LoRa Alliance. These organizations exist to push contributions between stakeholders aligned around a set of common goals. Take the WiFi Alliance for example, they are promoting wireless technologies and interoperability and aligning the efforts of its members to push development, research, and utilization in a common direction.

“The Wi-Fi Alliance is a wireless industry organization that exists to promote wireless technologies and interoperability. The Alliance also certifies products that comply with its specifications for Wi-Fi interoperability, security and application-specific protocols.”

What is the purpose of the Helium Foundation?

The foundation’s purpose is to bring the community and stakeholders together and facilitate ecosystem development, governance and education. In addition, the branding and intellectual property around Helium will be owned by the Foundation. This will enable the Helium brand to be utilized by the Foundation Members, very similar to how WiFi certified or LoRa certified products and approved members are able to use those trademarked names.

“The Helium Foundation’s mission is to benefit the wireless industry and its stakeholders as a steward of ecosystem development, network governance, and public education.”

What are some of the major roles that the Helium Foundation will take on?

  • Managing the Helium Improvement Proposal (HIP) process. This process is how improvements to the network get proposed, discussed and voted on. It includes changes to the blockchain, new networks, new developments that change how things work, etc…
  • Owning and maintaining the core technology and repositories around the Helium Network.
  • Become one of the signing authorities for chain-variables, configuration settings for the Helium blockchain.
  • Provide grants to drive development or improvement to the tools and infrastructure, educational material and processes.
  • Be responsible for scaling, improving and securing the Helium Network.

Want to learn more about Helium Foundation Grants? Check out Gristle Kings Video giving you some background and insight!

What is Parley Labs doing to support these changes?

The Helium Foundation will continue to manage public tools such as the public helium APIs and Helium Console targeted at non-commercial and trial use. The console will now be limited to 1 organization and 10 devices, which is sufficient enough for any individual or organization to evaluate and test the network.

This move pushes towards the decentralization of critical infrastructure pieces. Similar to hotspots and Validators, a healthy network has many participants operating critical parts of the infrastructure. These pieces include Network Servers (Console), ETL/Blockchain APIs, Applications and services that drive solutions that businesses rely on for their daily operations.

Parley Labs began by helping our community build on the Helium Network. We will continue to step in, help and support others in the community so that we can continue to help grow this network and the foundation that will keep it thriving. We recognize that education and tools are needed, so we will do what we can to contribute these to our communities. If you’re looking for API access, blockchain data, or to be able to launch your solution on Helium Console, please fill out this survey.

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