Cream of the crop (9/1/23)
Good morning. Happy Friday before a long weekend! A quick reminder that we’ll be off Monday for Labor Day.
💰 SatSure Series A
🤖 MDA’s acquisition
💫 Payload’s picks
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SatSure Raises $15M Series A
SatSure, an EO intelligence startup, secured a $15M Series A, the company announced Wednesday. The capital influx will be used to develop a fleet of four high-res and multispectral satellites, which are expected to launch in Q4 2025.
Baring Private Equity Partners and Promus Ventures led the round, which consisted of a mix of equity capital and venture debt.
SatSure 101: The India-based company, which was founded in 2017, leverages satellite imagery and AI to deliver curated data intelligence to its customers. The company primarily serves environmental and farming end markets with an emphasis on agriculture banking.
Cash crop: The sheer size of farms and the unpredictability of crop yields make agriculture credit underwriting and monitoring difficult for banks, which has led to high transaction fees and reduced access to credit for farmers.
SatSure uses its AI solutions to analyze real-time satellite imaging to deliver risk and crop monitoring data to bankers.
The increased information can enhance the flow of credit to the underbanked agriculture sector.
“We have pioneered the use of satellite data as an integral part of our tech stack to enable expeditious credit assessment of farmers in a contactless manner,” said Rakesh Jha, an executive at ICICI Bank—an Indian multinational bank, and a SatSure investor and customer.
The crop monitoring, risk management, and pre/post harvesting SatSure solutions are also used by farmers and other companies in the agriculture ecosystem to improve operations.
India is space-pilled: With last week’s successful landing on the Moon, space fever is sweeping through India with space stocks surging and a patriotic excitement that the nation—and particularly its burgeoning commercial space sector—will emerge as a key mover and shaker in the new space economy.
ZERO-TRUST FOR ZERO-GRAVITY
Radical increases in the number and use of satellites are ushering in an era where operators are now using third-party ground stations, splitting the roles of spacecraft, and even sharing payload operators with other entities. In this hybrid, multi-party environment, security can no longer be based on trust.
OrbitSecure is SpiderOak’s Agile, Secure, lightweight communications and extreme key management solution created to protect Missions, Spacecraft and Payloads.
Leveraging a combination of blockchain/distributed ledger, and public-private key cryptology, OrbitSecure is designed to securely orchestrate end-to-end transmission and storage of sensitive tasking, communications, and data over untrusted networks, bringing Zero-Trust security to Zero-Gravity environments.
SatixFy Unloads Payload Division To MDA For $60M
MDA ($MDA) has been a longtime customer of SatixFy ($SATX). Now, it’s getting a piece of the company.
SatixFy, a satellite communications company that is driven by its in-house chipsets, announced on Thursday it will sell its payload division to the Canadian space tech company for $60M.
MDA will pay $40M to buy SatixFy Space Systems, which develops the payload platforms for satellites. The company will also contribute an additional $20M in advanced payments to utilize SatixFy’s flagship chipsets in satellites and ground systems like digital beam-forming antennas and communications networks.
“This acquisition is a natural next step in solidifying and strengthening our market position and addressing customer demand as we continue to capitalize on the growth in the Low Earth Orbit satellite communication market,” MDA CEO Mike Greenley said.
Diving in: SatixFy is offloading its digital satellite payloads division to allow it to go all-in on developing chipsets for payload design companies. The company will work closely with MDA to make chipsets for its payload devices, as well as expand its customer base and scale up its chipset manufacturing.
“We recently took the strategic decision to focus our satellite business on our core competencies of development of groundbreaking chipsets supporting multi-beam digital antennas and on-board processing for the space industry and advanced ground terminals,” Nir Barkan, CEO of SatixFy, said in a statement. “Today’s announcement is an integral part of that strategy and brings SatixFy’s cutting-edge space chipsets into MDA’s digital payloads, representing a strong step forward in the commercialization of our technology.”
The big picture: The global chipset shortage has debilitated industries beyond just space—several promising electric vehicle companies reported low earnings and had to scale back manufacturing as a result of the backlog.
SatixFy’s new strategy could be a sign that the space industry is looking to get ahead of the problem. The company’s decision to say goodbye to its digital payloads department will open the door for it to tap into MDA as a long-term revenue stream while MDA continues to order chips.
In Other News
📖 What we’re reading:
👀 What we’re watching:
An overview of the rockets and tech China is developing for future crewed lunar missions (15 min watch).
🏆 ICYMI, here were this week’s three most-read stories on our website:
The View from Space
NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter located Luna-25’s impact crater.