LEADERSHIP SPOTLIGHT: DR. LESLIE KLEIN

QUICK FACTS
Industry: Communication Equipment
HQ: Ottawa, Canada
Founded: 1997
Share Price*: $2.6 (CAD) Market Cap*: $99.395M (CAD) www.c-comsat.com
*As of 01/08/2021, TSXV: CMI

 

Dr. Leslie Klein
Founder, CEO, President & Director
Dr. Leslie Klein is the founder of C-COM Satellite Systems Inc., which was established in 1997 with the intent of designing and developing a system capable of delivering high speed Internet over satellite into vehicles and transportable structures. Dr. Klein is an Electrical (Professional) Engineer (BASc, MBA, Ph.D.) and was employed by such notable corporations as Hewlett Packard (NYSE: HPQ), Digital Equipment Corporation, IBM (NYSE: IBM),  Control Data Corporation, and Bell Northern Research (part of Nortel Networks). Dr. Klein has been involved in the high-technology business over the past 40 years and has been a founder of several successful technology companies.

 

Thank you, Leslie, for taking the time to speak with us today. Hunting Data appreciates the opportunity to connect with C-COM Satellite Systems. As a new addition to our network, can you tell us a bit about your background and how/when you joined the company?

I founded and financed the company in 1997 with 2 other engineers. I am an electrical engineer with a B.A.Sc. Degree in Electrical engineering and hold an MBA and Ph.D. degrees. Prior to creating C-COM I started 2 other successful computer companies, which were sold in the early 2000. Prior to this I have been employed by such notable corporations as Bell Norther Research, Hewlett Packard, Digital Equipment Corporation, Control Data and IBM in engineering and software development.

What are C-COM’s key technological advantages and who is your main competitor(s)?

The company designs and manufactures robotic on the pause satellite antennas for delivery of high-speed Internet into vehicles and movable structures, trailers etc. while stationary. With a press of a button anyone can find a satellite anywhere on the planet and get high speed Internet connection into a vehicle. Normally it takes more than 90 minutes for a certified satellite engineer to do this manually, but our system does this in minutes and with some of our products in seconds.

Do you have any patents/IP protection for your technology?

Since the controller design is all software driven there is no patents, but we have multiple patents for our next generation electronically steered phased array antennas which are at their final stages of development and will change the way satellite constellations are tracked and LEO satellite communication with these satellites is conducted.

 

Electronically Steered Phased Array Antenna Module and Manpack Antenna. 

Who are your main end-users and from which sector are you seeing the strongest demand for your products and technology?

We have over 8,500 antennas deployed in 106+ countries many with notable companies like Hughes, Airbus, Softbank, Halliburton, Rignet, Malaysia Telecom, Telesat, Eutelsat, Gilat, Indian Military, Polish Military, US Army, China Petroleum and hundreds of others worldwide. 96% of our product is exported.

What are your views on the growth prospect of the VSAT market, both in general and from C-Com Satellite’s perspective?

With the launch of close to 1,000 satellites by SpaceX and over 3,000 planned by Amazon and many others (such as  Telesat,  Viasat,  Hughes, Eutelsat OneWeb and others) it is expected that over 1,250 satellites will be launched yearly over the next 10 years so the market opportunities will be huge for the company with its proprietary patented antenna design.

In August you announced $1 million in funding from the Canadian Space Agency to join an international consortium to develop the next generation of array modules for 5G+. Can you provide us with any updates?

This project which is based on a consortium of European, Canadian and US companies will be developing a chipset for cell phones (5G+/6G) to deliver 100 times more bandwidth than existing 4G phones are delivering using high altitude drones. This project just started but will utilize the patented phase shifting technology owned by C- COM and will make it possible to eliminate up to 400 cell towers using this arial technology and the next generation V-band higher frequency technology.

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The iNetVu® mobile antenna, manufactured by C-COM Satellite Systems, has been deployed worldwide in a large number of applications.

Can you talk about your extensive R&D with the University of Waterloo and the specific antenna technology you’re developing?

The electronic phased array antenna technology is being developed jointly by C-COM and the University of Waterloo with funding from the Government of Canada and C-COM. We are in the final year of development of this 5-year project and expect to test and confirm viability of this antenna over a LEO satellite in the next few month with production being anticipated in 2022.

Other than the positive developments just discussed, can you breakdown C-COM’s latest achieved milestones?

The company has been around over 24 years and is one of the most innovative developers of satellite antenna technology for on the pause solutions. We have 8,500 antennas deployed in 1,066+ countries from Siberia to New Zealand in all climates and under all kind of conditions. The antennas are highly reliable and very easy to use. The company has over $22 million of working capital, has no debt and pays dividends. Over $15 million has been paid out in 36+ consecutive quarters and we intend to continue this process. Our new antenna design which should be tested shortly will make it possible for many global customers to access the thousands of satellites being launched and deliver high speed Internet into areas where terrestrial infrastructure does not exist.

How are you tackling the COVID-19 headwinds?

We are managing and never stopped working. We certainly are impacted by it but our last quarter was positive and expect to have a reasonable fiscal year. We are starting our first quarter (December 2020-February 2021) with a $3.4Million order (USD) from Japan for our world renowned Manpack antennas to a customer who already purchased 100 units from us last year, so we are hoping that 2021 will be a much better year than 2020 was.

As just mentioned, despite the COVID-19 impact, C-COM reported its highest revenue quarter during 3QFY2020. Can you talk about this quarterly generated profit?

These were a combination of repeat and larger new orders from existing and new customers as well as large Manpack orders from customers around the world. Since we are a relatively small company with 34 people, and we outsource all manufacturing we can operate a very profitable business without much overhead and make money even when the sales are lower than normal.

Lastly, what do you consider to be C-COM’s long-term and short-term challenges?

Our immediate challenge is to make sure our customers get back to business as normal which will translate to better business for us which I believe will happen in 2021. Our big year will be in 2021 when we demonstrate our patented revolutionary electronically steered phased array antenna technology and start providing solutions with it. This product will enable end users and integrators to deploy this new antenna for use on land, in the skies and in marine environments. We are also looking forward to the ultimate potential of assisting with Internet access the 3.5 Billion potential Internet users around the world who presently have no way to access the Internet. We believe that with thousands of satellite constellations circling the globe and with the type of technology we are developing to access and track these, it will be possible one day to connect the unconnected.  C-COM will be in the for front with our new antenna technology and hoping to play a significant role in making this happen.

About C-COM Satellite Systems Inc.

C-COM Satellite Systems Inc. is a pioneer and world leader in the design, development, and manufacture of transportable and mobile satellite-based antenna systems. The Company has developed proprietary, auto-acquisition controller technology for rapid antenna pointing to a satellite with just the press of a button, enabling Broadband Internet via Satellite across a wide range of market applications worldwide, including regions unserved or underserved by terrestrial access technologies.

C-COM has sold more than 8,500 antenna systems, in over 100 countries, through a dedicated dealer network that provides service to a wide range of vertical markets such as Oil & Gas Exploration, Military Communications, Disaster Management, SNG, Emergency Communications, Cellular Backhaul, Telemedicine, Mobile Education, Government Services, Mobile Banking, and others. The Company’s iNetVu® brand is synonymous with high quality, reliability, and cost-effectiveness.

C-COM is in late stage development of a potentially revolutionary Ka-band, electronically steerable, modular, conformal, flat panel phased array antenna. In cooperation with the University of Waterloo, C-COM is engaged in the design of this unique antenna with the intent of providing low-cost, high-throughput mobility applications over satellite for land, airborne and maritime verticals. For additional information please visit www.c-comsat.com

iNetVu® is a registered trademark of C-COM Satellite Systems Inc.

The Company is publicly traded on the Canadian Venture Exchange (TSXV: CMI) and on the US OTC Exchange (OTC: CYSNF).

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