Space IT Bridge Editor Doug Mohney holding Spire 3U cubesat

Spire secures $40 million, speculates on IPO

Jack of all trades small satellite company Spire Global announced last week it had secured over $40 million in new funding from a combination of strategic partners and financial investors. The company’s CEO suggested an IPO may be on the horizon. Spire has a fleet of over 80 satellites in orbit providing tracking of aircraft, ships, and weather data and offers hosting and customized satellite offerings.

“Strategic partners” participating in the round include ITOCHU, Mitsui, and Scottish Investment Bank with new investors represented by GPO Fund, Perennial Value Management Limited, and Bessemer Ventures. Existing investors RRE Capital, Expon Capital, Seraphim Capital and Qualcomm Ventures also participated, among others, according to the company’s press release.

“We are thrilled by the affirmation of these strategic relationships and how this capital infusion affords Spire continued validation from the strength of our respected financial investors. While we increasingly continue to fund our organic growth from revenue, this investment allows the company to also execute on its substantial path of international advancement,” said Spire CEO Peter Platzer.

Spire’s latest round of funding will be used to “substantially increase the creation of its proprietary space-based data and analytics with a new level of accuracy for aviation, crucial weather data and extreme weather prediction analytics,” according to the company, with good prospects for new and improved products in the Asia Pacific region. Improved analytics will enable Spire to essentially make more money with the data it collects and archives from its fleet of satellites.

Spire CEO Peter Platzer told CNBC the company’s board has developed a “clear internal plan” with goals towards an IPO in two years. Spire has raised more than $160 million in funding and expects the latest round to get the company to profitability.

In April, Spire launched its 100th satellite, completing a commercial weather satellite constellation. Spire collects and measures the distortion of GPS radio signals through the atmosphere, providing precise measurement of atmospheric conditions that are then rolled into weather forecasting models to deliver more accurate results.

In addition to increasing its analytics products, the investment funds will be used to scale its product, sales, and marketing efforts around the world. A number of cubesat firms offer ADS-B aircraft and AIS ship-tracking services while a growing number of firms are diving into the commercial weather market to collect and provide more information for better weather forecasting.

Spire’s 3U-sized cubesats (see picture above) can be custom-tailored to specific customer requirements. The company offers “Space as a Service” with the ability to fly 20 payloads on its satellites within 12 months for 10 million euros. In March of this year, US defense contractor The KeyW Holding Company signed up to fly at least one package on board a Spire satellite.


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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