Aalto-born ICEYE receives seven-figure sum in funding for its first satellite
The space technology startup ICEYE has secured funding of 2.5 million euros for launching its first radar-based microsatellites.
The company is developing a service which can be used to provide near-realtime information about space. The radar developed by ICEYE makes it possible to produce imaging also in the dark and regardless of weather conditions, which provides a competitive advantage. Currently, the technology and the service have been demonstrated by taking images from an airplane. The next step will be to build and launch a satellite, which allows expanding the information service to cover the entire earth. The first launch is planned to take place in 2017.
'Governments and space organisations already use radar satellites for data collection in military and research purposes. We want to bring this technology to a commercially profitable price level and make it available for everyone', explains the CEO of the company Rafal Modrzewski.
'The information we offer allows, for example, ships to sail more efficiently and safely. The information enables monitoring illegal fishing or illicit oil discharges and providing support in disasters, for example, mapping floodwaters or the destruction caused by a storm.'
From course project to international scale
ICEYE was founded as a course project at Aalto University in 2012. Already in the same year, the team received its first funding from the Aalto Center for Entrepreneurship, and in 2013–2014, the team developed a prototype of the technology in Aalto with funding acquired from the TUTLI programme by Tekes. The spin-off company started its operations in 2015. Today, 15 people work for the company, and new experts are sought from all over the world.
'However, in fields such as radio technology, many top experts are found specifically in Finland, and we will thus remain in Otaniemi even after the funding round, says CFO Pekka Laurila.
True Ventures and Founder.org of from the USA and Lifeline Ventures from Finland are involved in the capital funding round of 2.5 million euros. Tekes provides an additional boost of 1.7 million euros for the funding in the form of a product development loan in the Arctic Seas programme.
Earlier in September, the company also received significant funding for its product development from the space technology programme of the Horizon 2020 framework programme of the European Commission.
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