With the current frequency and scale of climate changes, crop patterns, fires, urban living, and human activities, the need for real-time information and access to data on a global scale is critical. This data access can help save lives during humanitarian crises and disaster response situations, and for economic decision making during moments of crisis.
This is where Finnish spacetech startup ICEYE looks to make a difference. The company claims to deliver monitoring capabilities for any location on earth.
ICEYE says it owns the world’s largest synthetic-aperture radar (SAR) satellite constellation to enable objective, data-driven decisions for customers in sectors such as insurance, natural catastrophe response and recovery, security, maritime monitoring, and finance. It says that the data can be collected day or night, and even through cloud cover.
ICEYE raises Series D funding
The Helsinki-based startup announced on Thursday that it has raised $136M (approx €118.7M) in its Series D round of funding.
Prior to this, the company raised €74M in its Series C round in September 2020. Including the current round, it has now raised a total of $304M (approx €265.36M) in funding since its inception in 2015.
The current round was led by Seraphim Space. New strategic investors BAE Systems and Kajima Ventures also joined in. Additionally, Molten Ventures, OTB Ventures, True Ventures, C16 Ventures, Chione Ltd, Services Group of America, the UK’s National Security Strategic Investment Fund (NSSIF), Space Capital, and Promus Ventures also participated in the funding round.
Together with OTB Ventures, the European Investment Fund (EIF) also participated as an investor through the InnovFin For Equity (IFE) programme, which is backed by the European Commission.
ICEYE claims that the funds will be used to grow its Natural Catastrophe solutions offering and further develop its satellite constellation and technology, reducing time to access and increasing the visiting frequency of its satellites. The company has already launched 16 satellite missions since its ‘first-ever’ spacecraft was placed into orbit four years ago.
Besides, the funds will also be invested towards the company’s growth globally, particularly its analytics services, which includes artificial intelligence and machine learning.
Rafal Modrzewski, CEO and co-founder of ICEYE, says, “Our entire team has built a solid reputation by delivering concrete results to our customers with unmatched timelines and quality of service. With this new funding round, we’ll be able to continue expanding our operations and further develop our NatCat solutions which is an important focus area to accelerate our growth.”
Satellite imaging to save lives
Founded in 2015 by Pekka Laurila and Rafal Modrzewski, ICEYE builds and operates its own commercial constellation of radar imaging satellites, with Synthetic-aperture radar (SAR) data already available to customers.
According to NASA, SAR is a type of active data collection where a sensor produces its own energy and then records the amount of energy reflected back after interacting with the Earth.
ICEYE claims that its constellation is designed to provide customers with reliable and frequent imagery enabling the rapid detection and tracking of changes on the Earth’s surface, regardless of the time of day or weather conditions. This capability is ideally suited for applications such as insurance loss adjustment, natural catastrophe response and recovery, national security, humanitarian relief, and climate change monitoring.
The company designs, manufactures, and operates its SAR satellites in-house, with manufacturing timelines brought down to a few months for its spacecraft.
On January 13, 2022, ICEYE launched two SAR satellites from Cape Canaveral, Florida. The launch also marked the first satellite built, licensed, and operated by ICEYE US.