The Finnish business Kuva Space, which specializes in hyperspectral photography, secured a €16.6 million ($17.6 million) Series A fundraising round to deploy up to 100 satellites by the decade’s end.
Founded in 2016, the company—formerly known as Reaktor Space Lab—was initially concentrated on developing nanosatellites for companies like the European Space Agency throughout its first four years of operation. To date, it has launched three satellites successfully, including a CubeSat carrying a demonstration hyperspectral camera.
The business didn’t decide to develop a hyperspectral constellation until about 2020, and Kuva closed a seed financing of €4.2 million ($4.85 million) in October 2021 to get things going.
According to the CEO of Kuva Space, Jarkko Antila, “building nanosatellites for other people isn’t the nicest business in the world” in a recent interview. “We’ve been constantly examining these various opportunities to enter the digital services industry, potentially through hyperspectral or telecom.”
Hyperspectral images can detect crops, minerals, and even gas because they can read the “spectral signature” of objects on Earth. This information is in demand from various sectors, including defense, oil and gas, and agriculture.
According to Kuva, because their constellation employs a 2D imaging technology that layers together images from many bands using software, the ground pixel size will be the lowest among its rivals. (Next year, it plans to launch two commercial microsatellites.) According to Antila, the business’s ability to choose which band its satellites measure is crucial for improving consumer outcomes.
“You can take ten times more pictures from the exact same spot and measure 25 bands instead of 250,” he said. “By doing this, you can raise the signal-to-noise ratio—a crucial technical metric in hyperspectral imaging that determines whether or not your data makes sense.”
Kuva intends to provide subscribers with insights through a subscription service that provides easily accessible data without requiring the user to task a satellite ahead of time. With a network of six satellites launched over the next two years, the business hopes to achieve a revisit rate of more than once per week. The company aims to reach 100 satellites in orbit by 2030 and hopes to expand to better than daily revisit for many regions by 2026.
He declared, “We want to introduce a true SaaS model to the Earth observation business.”
The firm hopes to form a U.S. corporation to access possibilities to collaborate with the U.S. Department of Defense and other American organizations. It has already won the NATO Innovation Challenge and contracts with the European Commission. Some agencies have demonstrated a need for such information, including the National Reconnaissance Office of the United States. The firm already employs twenty people, but in the upcoming months, it hopes to triple that number.
Longtime supporters Voima Ventures and Nordic Foodtech VC led the round with assistance from Singapore fund Earth VC. In addition, non-equity investments from Business Finland and funds from private Finnish investors through the Finland Growth Fund, Springvest, were included in the round.