Open Cosmos, a UK satellite startup focused on sustainability, raises $50M |  TechCrunch

Open Cosmos, a UK satellite startup focused on sustainability, raises $50M | TechCrunch

Satellites have been focused as a very important way – and sometimes the only way – to transmit communication and receive data about certain places around the world, a position of power that can be bold but ripe for abuse, and that is before considering how their presence contributes. to the growing problem of local waste.

Now, UK startup Open Cosmos, which builds what it describes as “sustainable” satellites orbiting the earth and an end-to-end system for managing the data collected by them, has raised $50 million aimed at democratizing access to a more structured platform that allows more organizations to use the satellites. one, or more usually constellations, and (if they choose) share the data they collect.

The company – founded by three aerospace engineers in Spain – has been around since 2015 and caught the attention of the industry immediately when it managed to assemble and launch its first LEO satellite on a tight budget, which is a little remarkable because of how much capex and opex are common to the project aerospace and foreign budget organizations should get a seat at the table by using satellite data. Nowadays the startup works with large space agencies and companies like Amazon (especially AWS) and the engineering, systems and security business of the RHEA Group, agribusiness firms like Lacuna Space, and more.

While its platform, hardware and technical systems can be used for a multitude of applications, Open Cosmos’ focus is on energy and climate monitoring, said CEO Rafael Jorda Siquier.

“We only cater to those who want to be good players in these areas,” he said in an interview. The satellites themselves eventually decelerate and break up as they re-enter the atmosphere, essentially leaving nothing behind.

Funding is notable for many reasons, including the investors involved and the broad content of funding in areas such as deep tech and space tech.

ETF Partners, Trill Impact and A & G – three sponsors focused on impact investing – lead the round, with many interesting methods involved, including Accenture Ventures, Banco Santander / InnoEnergy Climate Tech Fund (the financial group acquired a stake last week. ), IREON, Wille Finance, Claret Capital Partners and none other than InQTel – the investment arm of the CIA. Entrepreneurs turned investors Taavet Hinrikus and Kheng Nam Lee also participated in the round. This list of contributors refers to anyone who may already be working with Open Cosmos, and what opportunities they may have in the future.

As one example of that, Accenture said today that its investment is part of a partnership being created with Open Cosmos to implement and run data projects for Accenture customers, particularly with a focus on sustainability.

This investment is also remarkable given the current climate of startup investment.

Startup funding continues to be forced, and in Europe in particular, in Q2 of this year, the amount invested in startups was half of the amount as the year before, according to statistics from Crunchbase published at the end of August.

Artificial intelligence is another major, in-demand category going on right now, but the picture has been more mixed for space technology, which is available by the end of 2022 but is still very low (no pun intended) in previous years.

In fact, one assumes that the funding of local technology has increased by 120% in the first half of 2023 compared to the last half of 2022, it was not due to interest or a sudden recovery in the funding situation, but because many founders are delayed. they raised the rounds in 2022 if they had no other option but to raise funds. And some have gotten deals, albeit at lower or lower prices.

Open Cosmos’s $50 million is also a big jump for the startup itself: it’s more than 7 times the amount it has raised in previous years so far.

Jorda Siquier, who founded the company with Aleix Megias Homar (VP operations) and Jordi Barrera Ars (VP ​​technology), refused to give any explanation of the current valuation of the company before or after this latest investment.

But in some context, it was very low, especially in the beginning of operating equipment: the startup raised about 7 million dollars, and while PitchBook estimates that its previous value was 36 million dollars, it was good Ebitda as of 2020 – the trend. is profitable in operation (but has reached gross profit). All of these factors point to a company that investors may feel is safe to back now.

This is even more interesting given the current market opportunity of Open Cosmos: the company’s focus is currently on applications in areas such as climate and agriculture, especially with a view to sustainability and projects that further help that. This will put the firm in removing communications and data connections for other types of use and users – although stability, no doubt, is an important geopolitical category, when you consider that organizations like NATO (and the US government, and others like it. ) invest money now in startups that can help countries become more independent when it comes to utilities and resources. It doesn’t even say what Open Cosmos might do in the future, and who it’s for.

This alone can be a huge area, including data that would otherwise be difficult to measure in sectors such as illegal (or simply ignored) deforestation projects, greenhouse gas emissions, monitoring the progress of the white ice zone and sea levels and ocean currents. — includes a total of 54 climate variables. Satellites also play an important role in natural or other disaster relief efforts. Open Cosmos, citing research figures, predicts that the increased demand for earth orbit data is a market segment that will be worth 11.3 billion dollars by 2031.

“Spatial data has always been an important way to understand planet Earth, but only with its increase, the increasing effects of climate change and the rapidly growing number of AI / ML solutions that extract information from this data is the market now ready to reach its full potential,” said Toba Spiegel, Investment Manager – money from Trill Impact, in a statement. “Open Cosmos is a leader in providing multi-sensor location data at an affordable price and is the first to create an appstore-like analytics offering.”

“Open Cosmos has demonstrated not only its end-to-end technology as seen in its organic growth and financial stability but that the team is in a strong position to take the company to the next level,” added Juan Diego Bernal, MD. A&G Energy Transition Tech Fund. “We look forward to working with the team to seize these market opportunities and strengthen its position as a leader in the space technology sector and to use its leading technologies to enhance the Energy Transition for a better world.”

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