Aalto-born ICEYE receives USD 13 million for its radar-based microsatellite imaging service
Data collected using SAR can be used to, for example, monitor port traffic, detect illegal forest cutting and enhance the provision of disaster assistance. Photo: ICEYE
The spin-off of a microsatellite course held at Aalto University, ICEYE Oy is now strengthening its position as a pioneer in SAR (Synthetic Aperture Radar) technology developed for microsatellites. The company announced today that it had received USD 13 million (approx. EUR 11 million) in additional funding, which it intends to use, for example, on the expansion of production and development of commercial operations.
This funding also makes it possible to send several additional satellites into space. ICEYE's goal is to send the first microsatellites equipped with SAR technology into orbit around the Earth over the next 12 months.
Quickly and economically
Two-thirds of the Earth is in constant darkness or cloud cover, thus making conventional optical cameras unavailable. The extremely small SAR sensor developed by ICEYE, however, is able to provide reliable data regardless of the weather conditions or time of day. The company aims to provide SAR data to commercial and public users much more economically and quickly: Fresh data can be provided in intervals of just a few hours as opposed to the days it used to take. Data can be used to monitor port traffic in the maritime sector and detect leaks in the petroleum industry. Governments can use it to observe illegal forest cutting or in the rapid provision of disaster assistance.
‘The support and views of our investors help ICEYE realise our vision: we are democratising the availability of data on a global scale,’ explains Rafal Modrzewski, CEO and co-founder of ICEYE Oy.
‘For us, Aalto serves as an outstanding platform for high-tech enterprise. Co-operation with Aalto remains close: our location on the Otaniemi campus offers an excellent environment for out top international team, opportunities for research collaboration and new, skilled labour,’ praises Pekka Laurila, CFO and co-founder of ICEYE.
USD 8.5 million of the total USD 13 million in funding comes from a funding round led by Silicon Valley-based early-stage venture capital firm, Draper Nexus. True Ventures, Lifeline Ventures, Space Angels and Draper Associates participated in the funding round. Tekes: Finnish Funding Agency for Innovation also provided additional funding. Since its inception in 2015, ICEYE has collected a total of USD 18.7 million in funding from sources such as the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme.
The company will begin providing imaging data collected from its satellites to select customers in 2018.