Funding San Francisco

Spire Raises $25M to Build Out Satellite Fleet

Last Tuesday, Spire – a San Francisco based hardware startup – announced that it had raised a $25 million Series A round.  If you have never heard of Spire, well that is because they just changed their name with the new round: “Spire is changing its name from NanoSatisfi, with rebranding rolling out through the end of the year.”1

Spire, née NanoSatisifi, has built an incredibly unique satellite and data system:

NanoSatisifi [Spire] is a space data company providing affordable and convenient access to space through its nanosatellite infrastructure and user definable data collection capabilities .  Applications range from STEM-focused remote learning whereby students access a fully programmable satellite payload for only $250/week, to complex and rich space data for space weather, to valuable economic and financial data for commercial customers, the military, and governments. Nanosatisfi’s [Spire’s] innovative business model breaks the existing paradigm of large, long-term satellites and replaces it with the new model of a rapidly improving constellation of space assets, disrupting the existing satellite market similar to the PC’s disruption of the mainframe market.2

The Lemnos Labs hardware startup incubator alum will use the funding to ramp up production of their satellites. The company is, in a sense, is doing for satellites what the PC did for computers, making them accessible – relatively at least. Spire has drastically reduced the cost of satellite construction, and has placed a premium on using inexpensive, readily available technology in their design:

To date, Spire has deployed four of its small form factor satellites into space. The satellites leverage relatively inexpensive, off-the-shelf technologies where possible, rather than expensive, proprietary, single-use technologies traditionally associated with space. This alternative approach to innovation versus invention is central to Spire’s culture where employees are regularly encouraged to apply proven technologies in smart ways to create new results.3

Thus far, Spire has been almost exclusively focused on observing and monitoring the World’s oceans, tracking all sorts of data points: weather, shipping routes, supply chain tracking, and much more. Spire’s CEO, Peter Platzer, made a statement concerning the company’s objectives:

We listen to the three-quarters of the Earth that is remote or covered by water. Our customers make global business decisions and require detailed data in regions that have been critically underserved. Spire’s offering of high frequency, high accuracy data resonated with them, particularly in the areas of global trade, weather, shipping and supply chain, illegal fishing, and maritime domain awareness. Modern remote sensing traditionally focuses on the small fraction of Earth that is covered in land and is densely populated with people…What happens, particularly over the oceans, is critical in understanding global systems, and our proprietary technology delivers truly global perspectives that enable our customers to make smarter decisions.4