Although Finnish space activities have its roots from XIX century, there is not too many space news coming from the small country up north. Yet, Finland has been a pioneer in space weather and ionosphere research and modern observations made in Lapland from early 1900-s. Today, the new generation of spacetech companies are building their way to success inspiring entrepreneurs from the Nordics to develop new space solutions.
ICEYE, one of the most promising microsatellite companies in the Nordics providing today announced $13M in new funding, including an $8.5M financing round led by Draper Nexus. The money will be used to scale up company’s operations, including manufacturing of the synthetic-aperture radar (SAR) technology built from off-the-shelf components, and launch additional satellites. ICEYE plans to launch the first three microsatellites equipped with SAR sensors over the next 12 months, delivering Earth observation data to select customers shortly thereafter.
This is the second round of financing for ICEYE. In 2015 has secured a total of $18.7M in funding, including investments from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Program. Within 2 years the company was able to grow the team and developed the technology ensuring access to reliable and timely Earth observation data.
The current $8.5M round also included participation from True Ventures, Space Angels, Draper Associates and Lifeline Ventures, who previously invested in the company. In addition to that, the company received funding from Finnish Funding Agency for Innovations, Tekes.
“Rafal and his team are unleashing efficiency and innovation across wide sectors of our economy – insurance, construction and transportation to name a few,” said Q Motiwala, managing director of Draper Nexus who will be joining Iceye’s board. “We are excited to partner with this incredible, passionate team that is bringing this game-changing technology to market.”
What makes Iceye different from other companies alike is that its unique SAR sensor. The sensor can deliver imaging services anywhere around the globe, anytime, with response times measured in a few hours from the acquisition. This technology can benefit various industries by tracking changes around the world at any time.
“Having the support and insight from our investors will not only help ICEYE execute on our vision to democratize access to data worldwide, but it will also allow us to build out brand-new capabilities for our customers and partners,” said Rafal Modrzewski, CEO and co-founder, Iceye.
Iceye aims to expand access to SAR data at a cost and time efficiency that has never before been available to commercial and government entities. For example, SAR microsatellites can be used in the maritime industry to follow port traffic, in the oil industry to detect oil spills or by the government to monitor illegal logging, as well as fast disaster relief. The opportunities are countless.