Loft Orbital, a San Francisco-based tech startup that leases space on satellites, has raised $3.2 million in a seed financing round led by Uncork Capital. The round was joined by Indonesian state-owned telco firm Telekomunikasi Indonesia via its corporate venture arm, MDI Ventures.
Mercuria Investment Co, the Remote Sensing Technology Center of Japan (RESTEC), and Shobunsha also participated, along with other investors from China, Europe, US, Japan, and the UAE.
Upon investment, Jeff Clavier, managing partner at Uncork Capital, will join Loft Orbital’s board of directors.
Founded in January 2017, Loft Orbital attempts to commercialize satellites by buying a satellite platform and leasing it to customers – be it companies, academics, and government agencies who pay an annual fee.
Loft Capital has said that the funding will be used to expand its global presence and further build out its software products, which allow seamless hosting and operation of customers’ sensors in space.
“The traditional model of purchasing and owning a satellite can be an unnecessary and costly burden to organizations who want to collect unique Earth data,” says Antoine de Chassy, CEO and Co-founder of Loft Orbital.
“By owning and operating the satellites ourselves, we handle all steps of the satellite campaign on the customer’s behalf, including procuring and launching a satellite, and obtaining the proper licenses, insurance, and financing,” he added.
Globally, commercial, academic, and government organizations spend $45 billion a year to collect Earth observation data from space for applications including environmental monitoring, water resources management, disaster assessment, and global security.
However, these organizations have no choice but to spend tens and even hundreds of millions of dollars, face several years of lead time, and hire large staffs of aerospace engineers in order to collect the information they need. Loft Orbital services are aimed to make it easier for an organization to solve this problem.