Startups

Exclusive: SkyFi Raises $7.15M

SkyFi, a startup developing a satellite imagery app, has raised a $7.15M round with participation from J2 Ventures, Moving Capital, Capital Factory, and Bill Perkins, along with investments from family and friends. The startup aims to lower the barrier to entry for procuring custom satellite imagery and will allow users to task a satellite.

The business: Ordering satellite imagery can be a painful process with long lead times, especially for customers without long-term contracts in place. In most cases, customers spend a lot of time hashing out the specific details of what imagery is needed and how much it will cost with sales reps over the phone. 

SkyFi is “democratizing satellite image ordering and delivery,” SkyFi CEO Luke Fischer told Payload. The startup is seeking to differentiate itself with one-click ordering, up-front, transparent pricing, and the option for on-demand satellite tasking without having to speak with someone on the phone.

The startup is able to keep prices down by partnering with Earth observation (EO) companies that already have assets on-orbit. SkyFi has partnered with Umbra Space, Albedo, and Wyvern, each of which will provide different types of satellite imagery that can be accessed on-demand via the SkyFi app. 

If users’ desired image—down to the location, size, and file type—isn’t already included in the app’s database, they can pay to have a satellite image taken of a given spot by one of their partner satellites within ~48 hours, weather-dependent. 

Who’s buying? While the company has seen customer interest from expected groups, including for climate change applications and enterprise, the startup hopes to unlock the “social market” for satellite imagery, Fischer said. 

  • “People may want to look at the location for where they’re getting married. They may want to see that vacation beach spot that they haven’t been to yet and get an accurate view of it from space. And it just helps paint the picture for it,” per Fischer.

Up next: Expanding the team and launching the app, which is targeted for mid-Q2 this year. SkyFi is hoping to sign more partnerships with satellite operators before rolling out the app to the public.

“We’re starting with imagery and giving people access, but will very quickly want to build one of the most comprehensive data platforms that gives people the power to interact with the Earth like they’ve never seen before,” Fischer said.

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