Earth Imaging Journal: Remote Sensing, Satellite Images, Satellite Imagery
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May 4, 2017
Orbital Insight Announces $50 Million Investment Led by Sequoia to Scale Satellite and Drone Imagery Analysis

MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA - Orbital Insight, a geospatial analytics and software company, today announced it has closed a $50 million Series C round led by existing investor Sequoia Capital, with participation from new investors Envision Ventures, Balyasny Asset Management, Geodesic Capital, ITOCHU Corporation and Intellectus Partners. Previous investors GV, Lux Capital, and CME Ventures participated in the Series C as well. This latest round brings the four-year-old company's total funding to $78.7 million.

This funding firmly positions Orbital Insight in the vanguard of geospatial analytics. With the imminent arrival of daily satellite imagery of the entire planet, the company will provide unprecedented visibility into what we are doing on and to the earth. As the commercial space sector booms, rapid improvements in the frequency and resolution of imagery are allowing Orbital Insight to commercialize new analytic and software tools that let clients follow socio-economic trends that were previously too complex and subtle to unravel.

With this new round of funding, Orbital Insight plans to expand its portfolio of analytic products and grow its global strategic partnerships and sales presence in key international markets. The firm will also continue to attract the brightest minds in engineering, data science, design and sales who want to operate at the intersection of new geospatial analysis, artificial intelligence and complex problem solving for leading clients around the world.

"We are on the precipice of having daily five-meter imagery of the world, and then daily one-meter imagery within a few years. Until very recently, the standard was weekly 15-meter imagery, with one-meter imagery available much less frequently," said Orbital Insight CEO and founder Dr. James Crawford. "We've only just begun to uncover a handful of signals, but we've already seen the impact they can have on financial, energy and insurance markets, as well as society as a whole. We're looking forward to having an even greater presence as we scale alongside the industry."

Since launching in 2015, Orbital Insight has made headlines with its announcements, including: finding more oil stored in China than was previously reported, a partnership with the World Bank to effectively gauge poverty from space, and analysis of retailer parking lot traffic patterns. The company has garnered numerous accolades, including being named a Technology Pioneer by the World Economic Forum in 2016 and the Most Innovative Company in Space by Fast Company in 2017.

"The proliferation of affordable drones and satellites is generating unprecedented amounts of geospatial imagery, and Orbital Insight is making that data actionable," said Bill Coughran, partner at Sequoia and Orbital Insight board member. "Just as Google is organizing the world's information, Orbital Insight is interpreting it. We've been impressed with their progress since their Series A and are thrilled to increase our support for one of the leaders in the geospatial software industry."

Orbital Insight is the first mover in large-scale analysis of satellite and unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) imagery. The company partners with leading satellite operators, including Airbus, DigitalGlobe, ImageSat, MDA, Planet and Urthecast, to gain access to vast amounts of imagery. Orbital Insight then applies machine learning and computer vision to these images to count and measure objects like cars, agricultural fields, buildings and more to provide an accurate and near real-time understanding of the world. The company's client list includes leading financial services firms, Global 500 companies, several U.S. government agencies and global non-profit organizations.

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