Investing in Space

Satellite builder and data business Spire raises $40 million as IPO plans come into view

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Key Points
  • Satellite analytics Spire announced Wednesday it raised $40 million in a new round of funding from a host of investors.
  • The company's Lemur satellites are small and help forecast weather, as well as track ships at sea and airplanes in flight.
  • This also brings a public offering into view for Spire, with Platzer saying the company has now outlined goals and a timeline for an IPO.
A Spire satellite pictured in orbit.
Spire Global

With more than 80 of its small spacecraft in orbit, each streaming in immense amounts data, satellite analytics company Spire is taking the next step in expanding its operations and maturing its business.

Spire announced Wednesday it raised $40 million in a new round of funding from a host of investors: Japanese conglomerates Itochu and Mitsui, the Scottish Investment Bank, the New York-based Global Public Offering (GPO) fund, as well as venture capital funds Bessemer Ventures, RRE Capital, Expon Capital, Seraphim Capital and Qualcomm Ventures.

The company's Lemur satellites are small and comparatively inexpensive, each one hosting a variety of instruments. Spire's satellites help forecast weather, track ships at sea and airplanes in flight.

Spire has been able to steadily increase how much data each of its satellites produces, with CEO Peter Platzer telling CNBC that this funding is "really about growing the data and growing the data analytics."

"What this funding allows us to do is to keep on pushing the boundary of the accuracy of extreme weather forecasting, for example," Platzer said.

A Spire Global engineer works on a satellite in a testing chamber.
Spire Global

Three of Spire's new investors – Itochu, Mitsui and the GPO fund – each emphasized that Spire's data and analytics would mutually benefit the Asia Pacific region.

"Even though that houses more than half of the world's GDP and more than half of the world's population, generally sophisticated technology like tracking and predicting the weather or flight safety has not been very available in that region," Platzer said.

Spire has now raised more than $160 million in funding. Platzer said the company is not yet cash flow positive but that this funding round will get Spire to profitability. This also brings a public offering into view for Spire, with Platzer saying the company has now outlined goals and a timeline for an IPO.

"We do have a very clear internal plan that has just been approved by the last board meeting," Platzer said, which would see the company "be ready for an IPO in two years time."