Hydrosat raises $ 5 million in funding round
This article was updated on June 17 at 4:50 p.m. EST, with comments from HydroSat CEO Pieter Fossel.
SAN FRANCISCO – Data analytics company Hydrosat has raised $ 5 million in seed funding for a constellation of satellites to produce a global infrared thermal map.
The Washington-based startup also announced that Lori Garver, former NASA deputy administrator and CEO of the Earthrise Alliance, will join its board.
Culture Capital led Hydrosat’s funding round. Freeflow Ventures, the Yield Lab, Expon Capital, Techstars, Industrious Ventures and Synovia Capital also participated.
Hydrosat’s inaugural mission, called VanZyl-1, is expected to be mounted on a Loft Orbital satellite and launched in early 2022 on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. The VanZyl-1 imager is designed to detect water stress, monitor the risk of forest fire and observe agriculture.
Hydrosat is designed to capture surface temperature data that will help organizations track drought and fire risks. Additionally, surface temperature data obtained by the Hydrosat constellation would shed light on the impact of drought on crop production and the risk of forest fires, Fossel said via email.
Hydrosat plans to launch an additional 16 satellites to scan the globe daily, generating “science-grade infrared data and a terrestrial surface temperature product ready for analysis,” according to the company’s June 17 press release.
With the latest investment, which brings the company’s total raised to $ 10 million, Hydrosat plans to develop commercial products focused on agriculture and analysis.
The European Space Agency, the US Air Force and the US Department of Defense have awarded contracts to Hydrosat. Hydrosat has an office in Luxembourg.
“There has always been a strong interest from civilian and military governments in long-wave infrared satellite data,” Hydrosat CEO Pieter Fossel said via email. “The government is an important customer for Hydrosat. However, we are seeing huge growth in potential demand for geospatial applications in commercial industries exposed to environmental risks, particularly agriculture, insurance and financial services. “
In addition to Garver, Hydrosat’s board of directors is expanding to include Cultivation Capital general partner Andy Dearing. Dearing was the former CEO of Boundless Spatial, a geospatial software company purchased by Planet. Former RapidEye CEO Ryan Johnson is also joining the board. Planet also acquired Berlin-based RapidEye through its parent company BlackBridge.
“Water stress is one of the most pervasive and urgent challenges associated with climate change, and we believe Hydrosat is uniquely positioned to address it,” said Andy Dearing,
Rather than relying on customer orders, Hydrosat is building a high capacity satellite system to continuously collect data.
“This is on-demand data without a reservation,” Fossel said. “We are building a business capacity that will make the whole world available daily from our library, which is powerful for users of machine learning. “