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Good morning. It’s good to be back. Did you miss us yesterday?

In today’s edition: 
📱 Exclusive: SkyFi raise 
📊 $BKSY Q4
🗓️ The week ahead
🔃 On the move

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  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.


  BlackSky Reports Q4, Full-Year 2021 Financial Results

Image via BlackSky
Image via BlackSky

This morning, Seattle-based BlackSky (NYSE:BKSY) reported Q4 and full-year 2021 results. Q4 financial highlights: 

  • BlackSky recorded $11.5M in revenue, up 79% year-over-year
  • Operating loss stood at $31.9M; Adj. EBITDA loss was $14.4M (more on that below).
  • Going into 2022, BlackSky had $168M in cash. 
  • In Q4, BlackSky recorded $14.4M in capex spend.

Financial highlights for the full year:

  • $34.1M in revenue, up 61% YoY
  • Operating loss of $120.1M; Adj. EBITDA loss of $44.4M. The discrepancy is due to pre-merger stock awards and public company transaction costs, along with $18.4M in satellite impairment costs.
  • $63.9M of capex. 

A busy Q4… The geospatial analytics and satellite operator de-SPAC’d on Sep. 9 and began trading as $BKSY on the New York Stock Exchange the following day. The SPAC transaction, first announced last February, provided BlackSky with ~$283M in proceeds. 

On the deployment front, BlackSky doubled the size of its constellation in Q4 from six to 12. BlackSky birds kept Rocket Lab’s Electron busy, with launches in November and December. Separately, two BlackSky satellites also launched on a Falcon 9 in early December. 

  • BlackSky said it was able to place newly deployed satellites “into customer-ready production” within 48 hours of launch. 
  • Now, BlackSky says its constellation is capable of 15 revisits per day.

A glimpse at the stock: Since going public, BlackSky has performed similarly to the wider space SPAC cohort (and growth-stage, unprofitable tech companies, for that matter). After $BKSY’s first day of trading Sep. 10, shares of the company stood at $11. That number is now $2.58.


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In Other News

  • Arkisys launched a Reg CF crowdfunding campaign on Netcapital this morning. The space infrastructure startup is developing “The Port,” a commercial robotic LEO outpost.
  • SpaceX is conducting a 10-for-1 split of its private common stock, CNBC reported Friday. 
  • Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus cargo ship arrived at the ISS Monday, with 8,000+ lbs of supplies. 
  • SpaceLogistics, owned by Northrop, will launch the Mission Robotic Vehicle (MRV) in 2024 with SpaceX. 
  • Satellite Vu also signed a launch deal with SpaceX to launch its first thermal imaging satellites in early 2023. 
  • SpaceX launched a set of Starlink satellites to a higher orbit than the ones deployed in its previous launch. A geomagnetic storm wiped out most of the previous batch. 
  • Space Perspective started accepting crypto payments for reservations to fly on Spaceship Neptune, a pressurized capsule hoisted by a high-altitude, 300-ft.-wide balloon.

The Week Ahead

Tuesday, Feb. 22: Virgin Galactic (NYSE:SPCE), Kratos Defense & Security Solutions (NASDAQ:KTOS), and Maxar (NYSE:MAXR) report quarterly results after market close. 

On the event front, the US Chamber of Commerce is hosting a virtual conversation with Mike Sarafin, the Artemis mission manager at NASA. Finally, the World Space Risk Forum has kicked off in Dubai and will run through to Thursday.

Wednesday, Feb. 23: The National Security Space Association (NSSA) will host its first-ever Defense and Intelligence Space Conference in Chantilly, VA. The conference extends to Thursday.

Thursday, Feb. 24: Globalstar (NYSE American:GSAT) will announce Q4 and full-year 2021 financial results after market close.

Sunday, Feb. 27: Rocket Lab plans to launch a synthetic aperture radar (SAR) satellite, Strix-B, for Japanese company Synspective aboard an Electron rocket. 


On the Move

  • Spire (NYSE:SPIR) hired Chuck Cash as VP of federal sales.  
  • Virgin Galactic (NYSE:SPCE) said that Chamath Palihapitiya is stepping down as chairman and member of its board, effective as of Friday, Feb. 18. Board director Evan Lovell will serve as interim chairman, with a new chair to be selected at a later date.
  • FAA Administrator Steve Dickson will depart the agency at the end of next month. 
  • HawkEye 360 announced its Advisory Board Class of 2022: Deborah Lee James, Essye B. Miller, Adm. Mike Rogers, and Adm. Paul Zukunft.
  • SatRevolution hired Peter Kinne as chief revenue officer. 
  • NASA appointed new members to NAC, its advisory council, which will hold its first 2022 meeting March 1–3.

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