US-based Planet, an aerospace and data analytics company that builds satellites to provide daily data and insights about Earth, announced that it has acquired VanderSat, a Haarlem, Netherlands-based provider of advanced earth data and analytics.
Under the agreement, the company acquired VanderSat for approx $28M (approx €24.74M), which consists of $18M (approx €15.9M) in shares of Class A common stock of Planet Labs PBC and approx $10M (approx €8.83M) in cash.
Earlier this year, Planet entered into a definitive merger agreement with dMY Technology Group, Inc. IV, a special purpose acquisition company, to become a publicly-traded company called Planet Labs PBC.
“Unmatched water data. Satellite observed.”
Information about water availability and crop health is now more important than ever. Extreme weather, rapid population growth, and rising demand are making food and water security among the most pressing global challenges. This is where VanderSat comes into play.
Founded in 2015 by Richard de Jeu and Robbert Mica, VanderSat is a provider of global satellite-observed data, products and services over land with a special emphasis on water and crops. The company’s technology makes observations possible without any cloud and darkness interference.
VanderSat monitors and analyses land conditions and gives its customers essential insights into soil and crop conditions by applying mathematical expertise to raw data from a constellation of satellites from space agencies such as NASA, ESA and JAXA. The company’s products report on key conditions on the Earth’s surface like soil moisture, land surface temperature, vegetation optical depth, and biomass.
CEO of VanderSat Dr. Thijs van Leeuwen says, “VanderSat is a mission-driven company with the goal to serve one billion hectares of land in 2024. By joining Planet, our mission and impact will be dramatically accelerated and together, we aim to reach that goal in 2022.”
With this acquisition, the VanderSat team, including founder Dr. Richard de Jeu and CEO Thijs van Leeuwen, will join Planet.
Aim of this acquisition
Combining product portfolios, Planet will utilise VanderSat’s technologies and products to bring next-generation solutions that leverage commercial and public satellite data to provide clear and actionable information to help industries, non-profits, and governments around the world.
Will Marshall, CEO and co-founder of Planet, says, “We expect VanderSat’s analytics and industry expertise will help Planet provide solutions ‘up the stack’ to bridge the gap from complex remote-sensing science to products that offer improved data to the ecosystem and our customers. And when one combines their new data with Planet’s, the value is far greater than the sum of its parts.”
One of Planet’s goals is to bridge the gap between real-world problems and the complexity of remote-sensing science. VanderSat is another step towards that goal with their advanced analytics.
Kevin Weil, Planet’s President of Product and Business, adds, “This acquisition brings to Planet a world-class remote-sensing data science team, top tier accounts in the agriculture and insurance verticals, accelerates our software strategy, and expands our footprint in Europe. Not only does it allow us to see the planet in new ways, but it opens up the possibility for new applications that can be used by new and existing customers across our verticals.”
“Using Space to Help Life on Earth”
Planet was founded in 2010 by three NASA scientists Will Marshall, Robbie Schingler, and Chris Boshuizen – according to Boshuizen’s LinkedIn profile, he left the company in 2015.
The startup collects information about the changing planet via a fleet of compact, highly capable Earth-imaging satellites. It is driven by a mission to image all of Earth’s landmass every day and make global change visible, accessible and actionable.
The company designs, builds, and operates the largest Earth observation fleet of imaging satellites, capturing and compiling data from over 3 million images per day. It claims to provide mission-critical data, advanced insights, and software solutions to over 700 customers working in multiple sectors including agriculture, forestry, intelligence, education and finance and government agencies.
VanderSat will be Planet’s fourth acquisition. Previously, it had acquired BlackBridge in 2015, Terra Bella in 2017, and Boundless in 2019. The company plans to accelerate its product and business goals through acquisitions as a natural consolidator in the earth observation space.