Finnish start-up ICEYE will further expand its business thanks to the company’s largest infusion of capital yet, with plans to have a network of satellites that can image anywhere in the world as much as four times a day.
ICEYE closed an $87 million round of venture capital fundraising, led by its prior investor True Ventures, which brings the company’s total funding to date to $152 million. Notably, ICEYE co-founder and CEO Rafal Modrzewski told CNBC that his company was aiming to raise $60 million but found more investor demand than it expected – with the COVID-19 pandemic not affecting investment in private space companies as badly as feared earlier this year.
The company’s business is based upon combining a special type of imagery with a form factor the size of a suitcase – reducing the cost of launching multiple satellites to create a network that can image places on Earth multiple times a day.
ICEYE wants to further grow its share of the fast growing sector of earth imagery – one of the key parts of the space economy that has grown to be worth more than $420 billion. Dr Mark Matossian, the head of ICEYE’s United States division, noted that “the U.S. is the largest SAR market hands down.” While he estimated that SAR imagery is a multi-billion dollar market, he said its difficult to quantify since “a fair chunk of it is not public” given national security-related contracts.
The company is in the site selection process for a U.S. satellite factory, which Matossian said is currently “at the state level.”
“We will continue to manufacture in Finland and Poland, so the U.S. will complement them,” Matossian said.