Skybox Imaging, a provider of satellite imagery, video, and big data analytics, has raised $70 million in third round financing led by Canaan Partners and Norwest Venture Partners. They join existing investors Khosla Ventures and Bessemer Venture Partners, bringing the total amount raised to date to $91 million.
Skybox plans to use the capital to complete development and launch of its first two high-resolution imaging microsatellites, SkySat-1 and SkySat-2. It will also use the funds to grow its team of software engineers and data scientists. SkySat-1 is slated to launch in fourth quarter of 2012 aboard an International Space Company Kosmotras Dnepr rocket.
“We will also use this capital to expand strategic alliances, position Skybox for initial commercial operations, and to accelerate the development path towards the full constellation of microsatellites,” said Skybox CEO Tom Ingersoll. “Canaan Partners’ and Norwest Venture Partners’ commitment to the Skybox vision gets us one step closer to reaching all of these milestones.”
Current satellite systems sporadically capture still images of various regions of the earth. The Skybox constellation will enable much more frequent monitoring of an increased portion of the planet’s surface. Skybox is the first to offer high-definition video, as well as still imagery, and will utilize Hadoop to build a combined hardware and software chain capable of processing, extracting, and interpreting large amounts of pixel and derived data. The value of capturing repeat images and video, coupled with the power to mine that data for trends, gives industries unprecedented information to support decision-making, the company said. There are numerous practical applications, spanning sectors from business intelligence and financial trading to disaster response and humanitarian relief.
“Imaging satellites have the potential to deeply impact the day-to-day experiences of both businesses and consumers,” said Deepak Kamra, general partner, Canaan Partners, who will be joining the Skybox board. “Until now, only governments and militaries have been able to use the valuable data gained from analyzing these images. With this analytic capability now becoming available and affordable to mainstream users, we can expect to see a dramatic and permanent shift in how business and consumers operate.”