Image mining company Ursa Space lands $5.7M in new venture money

Ursa Space Systems announced today, July 19, that it has recently closed $5.7 million in new venture funding.  The round was lead by RRE Ventures and includes participation from S&P Global and Paladin Capital Group.   In addition, the company is on a hiring streak, with 22 open positions listed on its website.

Ursa is part of a crop of geospatial analysis companies analyzing imaging data from a variety of sources and generating business insights from the results.  The company has established itself as an authority in the energy sector by processing satellite-generated synthetic aperture radar (SAR) data to monitor global oil production and storage.  Ursa’s flagship commercial product, Global Oil Storage Monitoring, measures crude storage of more than 340 oil terminals worldwide with 3.6 billion barrels of capacity.

“Ursa is making great progress across multiple aspects of their business,” said Will Porteous, general partner at RRE Ventures and new Ursa board member. “They’re seeing early success with enterprise customers like S&P Global Platts, and users are already requesting new applications of the product for their business. There are many potential high-value applications for the technology. In addition, they have attracted really impressive talent. We see a very strong team with a great value proposition and a huge opportunity in front of them.”

Funding from the most recent round will be used by Ursa to expand its focus across the oil supply chain and expand the company’s custom monitoring services across other sectors, likely to include transportation, commodities, and large infrastructure construction and maintenance.

S&P Global’s investment builds upon the launch last month of Ursa’s commercial partnership with S&P Global Platts, a division of S&P providing information and analytics for the energy and commodities. The Platts division is incorporating Ursa’s oil storage monitoring into its Analytics products and is working with Ursa to develop new products for the commodity and energy markets.

SAR satellites provides all-weather imaging through clouds and at night, providing 24×7 coverage.  Ursa and other SAR users will get a major boost in data over the next two years.  Finland-based ICEYE plans to launch 9 radar satellites by the end of 2019 with a total of 18 satellites in orbit by 2020 providing hourly coverage of the entire plant.

Ursa isn’t alone in the geospatial analytics arena.  Planet just announced it is rolling out AI tools to process its terabytes-per-day of imagery while companies such as Orbital Insight, Descartes Labs, and SpaceKnow are building businesses to mine petabytes of imaging data from current and planned satellite constellations.

Doug Mohney

Doug Mohney, a principal at Cidera Analytics, has been working and writing about IT and satellite industries for over 20 years. His real world experience including stints at two start-ups, a commercial internet service provider that went public in 1997 for $150 million and a satellite internet broadband company. Follow him on Twitter at DougonTech or contact him at dmohney139 (at) gmail (dot) com.

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