Australia-based Fleet Space Technology announced this week it raised $26.4 million in its second round of funding. The Series B round includes new commitments from new investors including Alumni Ventures, Hostplus, the South Australian Venture Capital Fund (SAVC) and In-Q-Tel.
“This investment secures the long-term sustainable growth of Fleet Space and is a global endorsement of the power of the rapidly growing Space technology sector,” said Flavia Tata Nardini, CEO and Founder, Fleet Space Technologies. “Our nanosatellite technology is proven and this capital injection is testament to confidence in our commercial model. We are ready to scale and realize the full potential of IoT technology to secure planet-wide coverage of millions of industrial devices. This will save billions of dollars for organizations in lost value while preserving precious resources and reducing carbon emissions.”
Previous investors from the Fleet’s Series A round in September 2019 participating in the second round include Artesian Venture Partners, Blackbird Ventures, Grok, and Horizons Ventures. Investments from the second round are expected to create 70 new jobs within Australia’s space industry.
“The growth of Fleet Space Technologies and the successful completion of this funding round is a glowing affirmation of the sustained development of the Australian and South Australian space industry sector,” Hon. David Pisoni MP, Minister of Innovation and Skills, said. “In backing Fleet, the Marshall Liberal Government is supporting the creation of highly-skilled jobs in South Australia and plotting a trajectory towards the Australian Space Agency’s stated aims to build a $12 billion industry by 2030.”
Fleet Space has designed, built and launched six satellites so far with several others slated for launch in 2022. Fleet plans to build a constellation of 140 cubesats in low earth orbit (LEO) to pick up data from IoT devices, but the company has also been involved with the Australian Space Agency’s efforts to build international exploration relationships. The company is involved in the 2023 SEVEN SISTERS Australian space industry consortium for lunar exploration and is looking to apply its LPWAN technologies to lunar and Mars projects.
However, Fleet Space finds itself in a rapidly evolving IoT environment back on planet Earth. Near-peer Hiber has moved out of satellite construction, launch, and operations business and is teamed with Inmarsat – now merging with ViaSat – to provide network connectivity through Inmarsat’s ELERA IoT services. IoT provider Astrocast went public in August of this year, raising nearly $44 million in order to build and launch more satellite and expand its worldwide marketing efforts while Fleet Space neighbor Myriota is accelerating its time to market and global coverage by partnering with part-owner Spire Global to upload a software payload to some Spire’s existing fleet of satellites, enabling them to pick up data from Myriota terrestrial devices.
With Hiber and Myriota migrating out of the sat building and operations and Astrocast public, Fleet’s plans to continue to build satellites may be strategically advantageous to Australia, but tactically disadvantaged in the global IoT sector.