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Finland’s Kuva Space expands to U.S., taps Former ICEYE US CEO to lead the strategic growth

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Kuva Space, an Espoo-based company specializing in hyperspectral satellite technology, is expanding into the United States with the establishment of Kuva Space US in Virginia. They’ve enlisted Jerry Welsh, former CEO of ICEYE US, to lead their U.S. expansion efforts. Their technology allows detailed monitoring of Earth materials and conditions, with applications spanning defense, safety, food security, agriculture, and environmental monitoring. Kuva Space aims to become a key provider of hyperspectral insights to the U.S. Government. They plan to launch two satellites in 2024, starting with Hyperfield-1 in June. Notable contracts include a $5.4M deal with the EU Copernicus program and winning the NATO Innovation Challenge. Their mission is to address global challenges like climate change and food security by offering actionable insights derived from spaceborne data.

With its new U.S. subsidiary, Kuva Space aims to broaden its market reach and serve U.S. Government and commercial customers. The Global Geospatial Analytics Market was estimated to be valued at $85 billion in 2023, with the United States representing the largest market in the world. Hyperspectral solutions are a critical element of the Geospatial Analytics Market because of the wealth of information they provide by combining hundreds of bands of spectral data with spatial information.

“One of the reasons I’m excited to work with Kuva Space is its plans to offer new spaceborne hyperspectral capabilities that nobody in the commercial space industry is currently providing,” says Jerry Welsh, Board Member of Kuva Space US. “Over the next year, we will be expanding in the U.S. to provide cutting-edge, robust, and reliable services and meet security and regulatory requirements to become a trusted partner to the U.S. Government.”

Kuva Space’s microsatellites, equipped with a patented hyperspectral camera, can monitor any material on Earth and its condition through its distinct spectral signature. Unique to the industry, the sensor can be tuned in orbit to optimize for a specific use case across a wide range of application requirements, including defense and safety, food security, agriculture, and environment verticals. In addition, the patented 2D snapshot imager provides a better signal-to-noise ratio, resulting in higher-quality images for actionable results.

Kuva Space’s advanced AI-powered analytics platform automatically transforms proprietary hyperspectral data and combines third-party data where needed to create analytics insights within 15 minutes. This enables customers to cost-effectively monitor, identify, and forecast changes and their impact in near real-time. Unlike black-box AI models, Kuva Space’s AI platform can explain the “why” behind an outcome and tailor their acquisition to meet the processing needs.

“I believe we will see increased combination and fusion of different data sets along with analytics to meet USG needs, and Kuva Space is poised to accelerate this innovation,” Jerry Welsh continues.

As part of the next satellite generation, the company plans to integrate edge computing capability, Sat-to-Sat and Sat-to-IoT mobile to improve in-orbit processing and reduce delivery times of analytic insights to first responders.

Kuva Space is on a mission to build the world’s most extensive hyperspectral satellite constellation and automatic AI-powered insights-as-a-service model. With three successful satellite missions, Kuva Space will launch two hyperspectral satellites and its initial services in 2024. The first one, Hyperfield-1, is scheduled to launch in June 2024. This will mark the initial stage of Kuva Space’s planned constellation, which aims to provide gapless monitoring by deploying up to 100 satellites by 2030.

“On the back of our successful funding round last year, we’re extremely excited to take the next step and ramp up our U.S. operations and bring Jerry on board. The U.S. is a mature Earth observation market with established government and commercial collaboration models. On the other hand, we are building capabilities for the U.S. market that are not currently offered. Our expansion to the U.S. is a crucial step to build stronger partnerships and commercialize our cutting-edge defense and safety and commercial civil services,” says Jarkko Antila, CEO of Kuva Space.

With local representation in Finland, the United States, Japan, Belgium, and the UK, Kuva Space has raised $24M in total funding from Morrow Portfolio, Voima Ventures, Nordic Foodtech VC, Earth VC, VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, and public funding from ESA Philab and Business Finland.

In 2023, Kuva Space was awarded a $5.4M commercial contract to be the sole provider of hyperspectral data services for the EU Copernicus program, and the company won the NATO Innovation Challenge for its AI-driven analytics for enhanced Arctic monitoring capabilities.

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Nurcin Metingil
Nurcin Metingil
A permanent student, a passionate first reader and nowadays doing master’s degree in Publishing Management. Beside these, I am up for games! I have been playing games since I was 6. Now, I am whispering "Business. Business. Numbers. Is this working?"

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