A spacey startup shoots for a comeback

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser / Axios

A startup that wants to build a mobile data network to fuel the Internet of Things is trying to convince regulators to let it use crucial airwaves.

It's the second time the company, now called Ligado Networks, has fought this battle. Its previous iteration, backed by Phil Falcone and called LightSquared, hit a dead-end 5 years ago. Now it's back with a new name, lots of money and well-connected allies as it tries to strike gold with connected devices, which it says it can serve using a combination of satellite airwaves and traditional spectrum — creating a sort of hybrid network.

Why it matters: If successful, Ligado could become an important Internet of Things player and produce a big payout for big-name investors like Centerbridge Partners, Fortress Investment Group and J.P. Morgan Chase (the industrial Internet of Things market could be worth $110 billion by 2020, according to estimates). But Ligado's years-long corporate drama shows the risks involved in making bets on technologies that hinge on regulatory approval.