Wildfire detection startup OroraTech raises $7 million

Munich Germany-based OroraTech announced it has closed a $7 million ($5.8 million euro) series A round. The wildfire detection startup will use the funds to expand its technology and services.

“This funding round will enable us to launch our first satellites and scale our geospatial data analysis platform,” says Thomas Grübler, CEO and Co-founder of OroraTech.

Wildfires cause insured losses of over 20 billion dollars and release around 8 billion tons of CO2, more than global automobile traffic.  The company has a platform solution today and is adding its own satellite constellation to improve and speed its coverage. 

“OroraTech is a leader in thermal-infrared data from space. With its unique information from this data and modern SaaS approach, OroraTech will meet the ever-growing demand for space-based data”, says Christian Federspiel, CEO of Findus Venture, one of the investors in the round.

In April, OroraTech announced Spire would build and launch its first satellite in December, using Spire’s Space-as-a-Service for operations. The Spire 6U cubesat will carry OroraTech’s thermal-infrared camera and data processing unit designed to detect fires and transmit data using Spire’s satellite and ground network.  It will be the first time Spire launches a 6U cubesat, adding to the company’s line of 3U cubesat spacecraft.

OraTech expects to have 15 satellites in orbit by 2023 and expand its constellation to over 100 satellites by 2026, providing real-time information on fires worldwide. The company plans to expand its services in the future beyond forest fire detection to monitor gas flares, improve weather models, and analyze agricultural areas.

“Thermal-infrared satellite imagery allows for a great number of use cases,” says Björn Stoffers, CMO and Co-founder. “Our primary target is to expand our position as the leading provider of satellite-based wildfire monitoring.”

OroraTech’s currently uses a custom wildfire detection algorithm and data from 14 different satellites in Low Earth Orbit (LEO) and Geostationary Orbit (GEO) to notify users of fires in their area of interest and to support immediate firefighting.  The funding will also enable OroraTech to grow its international team and establish branch offices in the United States and Australia. It currently is expanding its customer base in the U.S. and Canada and strengthening its presence in Brazil, Chile, and Australia. OroraTech is also cooperating with NGOs to preserve wildlife in Africa.

Infrared satellites have been typically operated by governments for weather forecasting and national defense applications, with the commercial sector starting to grow into the field to support climate monitoring and insurance needs.  UK-based Satellite Vu announced it closed a $5 million investment round in April for its first satellite launch in 2022; its service will be able to monitor the temperature of any building to provide insights on economic activity, energy efficiency, and carbon footprint.  

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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