Given the unprecedented frequency and scale of climate changes, crop patterns, fires, urban living, and human activities, there is a critical immediate need for real-time information and data access on a global scale. This access can be used for saving lives during humanitarian and disaster response situations, and for economic decision making during moments of crisis. This is where Finnish spacetech startup ICEYE comes into play, and it just raised €74M.
Satellite imaging to save lives
Founded in 2015 in Finland, SpaceTech startup ICEYE is building and operating 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 that energy reflected back after interacting with the Earth.
ICEYE enables others to make better decisions in governmental and commercial industries by providing access to timely and reliable SAR satellite imagery.
The startup has raised €74M in a Series C round of funding led by return investor True Ventures, and with an additional investment by OTB Ventures. To date, ICEYE has raised a total of about €129M in funding.
Besides, this round’s investors also include Luxembourg Future Fund (LFF), Finnish Industry Investment (Tesi), Draper Esprit, DNX, Draper Associates, Seraphim Space, Promus Ventures, and Space Angels. The funding round is joined by New Space Capital. The European Investment Bank (EIB) invested through its InnovFin For Equity (IFE).
Rafal Modrzewski, CEO and co-founder of ICEYE says, “This round of investment ensures our SAR satellite constellation will reach a size of at least 12 satellites in 2021, guaranteeing 4 times a day revisit rate globally.”
The funds will also be used in accelerating the growth of ICEYE’s SAR satellite constellation with more spacecraft; increasing data availability for all continents through 24/7 customer operations; continuing the development of ground-breaking radar imaging capabilities; and, for establishing spacecraft manufacturing in the US.
Will launch 4 additional SAR satellites this year
ICEYE has provided commercial radar satellite imaging worldwide for several years, enabling its customers to respond to oil spills, hurricanes, deforestation, and many more use cases.
This access of radar satellite imaging can be used for saving lives during humanitarian and disaster response situations, and for economic decision making during moments of crisis.
The startup designs, manufactures, and operates its SAR satellites in-house. The company’s radar satellite imaging service is designed to deliver very frequent coverage, both day and night. This helps its clients resolve challenges in sectors such as maritime, disaster management, insurance, and finance.
As of now, the SpaceTech startup has successfully launched 5 satellite missions, starting with the first-ever small SAR satellite launched in January 2018. Besides, it is also launching 4 additional SAR satellites this year and is on course to launch at least an additional 8 in 2021.
ICEYE has managed some world-first achievements for small SAR satellites, such as 0.25-meter resolution data and SAR video; record time data deliveries of 5 minutes from when data begins its downlink connection to ground stations, to actually having processed images available for customers to use on their own systems.
Coinciding with ICEYE’s Series C funding, OTB Ventures is all set to launch a dedicated investment vehicle to support Europe’s leading space technologies – OTB Space Program I, backed by the European Investment Fund and the European Commission through the InnovFin for Equity program.
Image credit: ICEYE