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ETF Digest

ETF Partners invests £10 million in Open Cosmos, a leading space tech business making satellites


11 September 2023


Open Cosmos raises $50M from leading impact investors to grow its leadership in accessible, sustainable space tech and satellite data

Open Cosmos designs, builds and operates satellites to simplify access to space, empowering organisations worldwide to use satellite data to solve key challenges. Satellite data is a critical tool for addressing issues such as climate change, humanitarian disasters, and resource management effectively and sustainably. The funding will be used to accelerate Open Cosmos’s growth, delivery and international expansion, broaden its offering and continue to deliver market-leading innovation

Harwell, UK, 11 September 2023: Open Cosmos – the leading space tech business making satellites that gather data to solve pressing global challenges – has raised $50 million in Series B funding from three leading impact investors, ETF Partners, Trill Impact and A&G. The round also included Accenture Ventures, Banco Santander InnoEnergy Climate Tech Fund and Claret Capital Partners, with participation from Taavet Hinrikus and Kheng Nam Lee. The funding will be used to accelerate the company’s growth internationally and expand its offering to encompass sophisticated satellites and constellations as well as satellite-based analytics and insight solutions.

Open Cosmos uses the power of satellites to simplify and democratise access to space and space data. Its mission is to allow all organisations to access the benefits of satellite data and insights to address global issues such as the climate crisis, the energy transition or the sustainable use of natural resources.

Open Cosmos is one of the few businesses in the world that can deliver end-to-end telecommunications, Earth Observation (EO), navigation and scientific missions. It designs, builds, launches and operates advanced satellites through its OpenOrbit offering; enables organisations to access and share data via its mutualised OpenConstellation infrastructure and offers AI-powered data analysis from a growing range of satellite sources and analytic partners via its DataCosmos platform. This not only dramatically lowers the costs, complexity, and timescales of missions, but it also simplifies access to EO data in a way that removes the barriers for all companies – even non-space customers – to address society’s most urgent challenges.

The power of satellite data

Satellites have a range of impactful use cases. Their onboard technology, when combined with AI applications, can measure greenhouse gases, while providing data on global temperature trends and can help monitor the extent of polar ice caps, sea levels, and ocean currents. EO imagery provides enhanced coverage of forests, allowing for the detection of deforestation. During natural disasters, satellite imagery provides real-time data, helping to assess the extent of damage and coordinate relief efforts, while satellites equipped with specialised sensors can detect and monitor oil spills quickly before they are even visible from the ground. Such is their impact, 60% of the 54 essential climate variables can be addressed by satellite data, with 21 requiring long time series and global coverage which can only be provided by satellites – and it’s why the EO satellite market is estimated to be worth $11.3 billion by 2031.

Open Cosmos satellites contributing to a more sustainable world include Menut, which launched in January 2023, delivers images monitoring deforestation, wildfire impact, flooding and coastal erosion. Some of the satellites due to launch in the next few months include:
MANTIS, funded through UKSA and in partnership with ESA, will produce high-resolution imagery to monitor logistics, energy infrastructure and natural resources
IOD6, in partnership with the Satellite Applications Catapult, which will focus on monitoring the Atlantic coastal and maritime areas
Platero, contributed by Spain, will combine Earth Observation and IoT on the same satellite to monitor biodiversity and provide real-time insights in the context of natural catastrophes

All three satellites feature a multi-sensor design, which will also enable them to join the OpenConstellation, whilst critical data gathered through their monitoring will become part of the DataCosmos platform.

Open Cosmos has a 100% success rate on all satellite missions it has launched to date. Also, Open Cosmos was recently selected by the National Commission for Aerospace Research and Development (CONIDA) to develop a data platform aimed at transforming geospatial data distribution in Peru following the success of DataCosmos. This will build on the platform’s work and facilitate access to diverse geospatial data for over 2,500 public institutions and private entities to revolutionise critical sectors and contribute to Peru’s sustainable development goals.

Building on momentum

Founded in 2015, OpenCosmos had only raised $7 million in external funding before this round, thanks to its focus on commercialisation and organic growth. Since year end 2020, the business has organically grown to become EBITDA positive, whilst at the same time doubling revenues year-on-year. This financial sustainability enabled Open Cosmos to raise fresh funding despite the difficult macroeconomic environment across all sectors. Today, the company has a team of nearly 70 people distributed across the UK, Spain and Portugal and is looking to expand into Latin America, Middle East and Asia Pacific in due course. As well, Open Cosmos is currently evaluating opportunities that complement this geographical expansion with acquisitions that enable inorganic growth both upstream and downstream.

Rafel Jorda Siquier, CEO and Founder at Open Cosmos, said: Since launch, we’ve viewed Open Cosmos as more than a space tech company; we are agents of change, harnessing the power of satellite data to drive meaningful impact on Earth. Our successful Series B funding, with the support of such prominent ESG and impact investors, is a testament to our commitment to sustainability and innovation. It is important for us as a business to work with investors that believe in our mission and align with our values to use technology to solve urgent global problems and we’re delighted to find that with ETF Partners, Trill Impact and A&G. This investment will propel us forward, allowing us to accelerate our growth, expand our capabilities, and continue offering cutting-edge solutions.

ETF Partners Managing Partner, Patrick Sheehan, added:Through their technological innovation, Open Cosmos has proven that space is a vital resource for the continued health and prosperity of our planet. Since ETF Partners is an investment firm focused on sustainability through innovation, Open Cosmos is a perfect match for our values and provides an exciting opportunity for profitable investment into a robust and growing market. We are thrilled to be part of this milestone and look forward to carrying our partnership into the future.

Toba Spiegel, Investment Manager at Trill Impact, said:Space data has always been an important means of understanding planet Earth, but in our view, it is only with its increasing affordability, the amplifying effects of climate change and the rapidly growing number of AI/ML solutions that extract insights from this data that the market is now ready to reach its full potential. Open Cosmos is a leader in providing multi-sensor space data at an affordable cost and we consider it a pioneer with creating an appstore-like analytics offering.

Juan Diego Bernal, Managing Director at A&G Energy Transition Tech Fund, said:Open Cosmos has demonstrated not only its unique end-to-end technologies as seen in its organic growth and financial stability but that the team is in a strong position to now take the company to the next level. We look forward to working with the team to seize these market opportunities and solidify its position as a leader in the space technology sector and leveraging its cutting-edge technology to boost the Energy Transition for a better world.

Tom Lounibos, Managing Director at Accenture Ventures, said:Accenture sees a future where every company is able to harness the vast potential of data captured in space in order to push past the boundaries of the possible and find new sources of innovation. Although access to this data has traditionally been limited and costly, Open Cosmos removes these barriers with satellites that launch quickly and simply, providing fast access to data on climate changes, energy, resources, navigation and more.

– ENDS –

Amelia Heathman / [email protected]

About Open Cosmos
Open Cosmos is a leading space technology business, headquartered in the UK with facilities in Spain and Portugal. Founded in 2015, Open Cosmos uses small satellites to simplify access to space, ensuring that a greater number of organisations all over the world can benefit from the richness of satellite data to address their challenges. From monitoring agriculture to navigation solutions, Open Cosmos is dedicated to solving customer problems effectively and sustainably through space-derived insights.

About ETF Partners
Founded in 2006, ETF Partners supports talented entrepreneurs and management teams with investment capital and experience. Our funds come from institutional investors, global corporations, and family offices. We create value by investing in technology companies that make a difference. We call it Sustainability through Innovation.

About Trill Impact
Trill Impact is a pioneering Impact House with around EUR 1.2 billion in assets under management across its investment strategies, Impact Private Equity, Impact Ventures and Microfinance, with a team of around 50 experienced professionals based in the Nordics, Germany, Luxembourg and USA.
Trill Impact aims to become a force for positive change through impact private investments, delivering Real Returns and Lasting Impact for the benefit of investors, businesses and society at large – encouraging others to follow.
For further details, visit https://www.trillimpact.com/

About A&G
A&G Energy Transition Tech Fund (A&G ETTF) is the VC arm of A&G to invest in technology-based companies that accelerate the Energy Transition and the decarbonization of the economy. A&G ETTF invests in growth/expansion rounds, co-investing with other international funds and industrial corporations, with a clear focus in Europe but also open to invest in other geographies in the rest of the world. A&G ETTF is an Article 9 fund, measuring the SDG impacts.