Espoo, Finland (November 2nd, 2023) Finnish Earth observation company Kuva Space has successfully raised €16.6M in funding. The funding round was led by existing investors Voima Ventures and Nordic Foodtech VC, with Singapore-based Earth VC also participating. The round also includes Finnish private investors through a Finland-based growth funding initiative with Springvest and non-equity funding from Business Finland.
The company will use the capital to accelerate the development of its patented hyperspectral camera and space technology, double its team size, and launch its AI analytics platform. Kuva Space also plans to expand its presence in key markets, starting with the United States.
Kuva Space’s commercial microsatellite, equipped with a patented hyperspectral camera, can distinguish nearly any material on Earth and its condition through its distinct spectral signature. This means the company can monitor things like crop types, plant health and biomass, biodiversity, soil conditions, seaweed growth, algae blooms, and marine chemical pollutants at scale.
By leveraging its AI-driven analytics platform, Kuva Space automatically transforms the collected data into actionable insights, empowering customers to monitor, identify, and forecast changes and their impact in near real-time. This approach helps organizations make financially smarter and environmentally responsible decisions to improve food security, defense, safety, and carbon sequestration credibility.
“Our growth funding campaign was oversubscribed in less than three days. We are extremely excited that our investors share our mission to improve life on Earth. We firmly believe that quality and timely spaceborne insights will empower communities to make informed decisions and create a sustainable future,” says Jarkko Antila, CEO of Kuva Space. “With this funding round, we are well-equipped to accelerate our satellite launches, enhance our AI analytics platform with proprietary data, and further our market expansion, particularly in the United States.”
Unlike existing Earth observation solutions, where images are delivered based on individual customer requests, Kuva Space will provide a near real-time monitoring tool as a subscription service. The business model, built around daily hyperspectral observations and an advanced AI analytics platform, will change how customers, especially non-space firms, use spaceborne data to execute ESG strategies, launch new products, and boost productivity.
“As an early investor, we have been big believers of Kuva Space’s pioneering work both in defense applications, as well as improving upon how we track and measure society’s environmental impact,” affirms Inka Mero, chairwoman of Kuva Space board, founder and CEO of Voima Ventures, known for its strategic investments in groundbreaking Nordic deep tech companies. ”With Finland’s emergence as a European leader in space technology, we’re extremely excited about what the future holds for Kuva Space.”
Nordic Foodtech VC, a forward-looking investor focused on shaping the future of food technology, echoes this sentiment. “The exceptional technology of Kuva Space enables a step change in resource-efficient farming and in monitoring and mitigating the environmental impacts of global food production,” says Jari Tuovinen, partner at Nordic Foodtech VC.
The funding adds to two key company developments this year, with the company being awarded the NATO Arctic Challenge Innovation winner and a €5M commercial contract from the European Commission to be the sole provider of hyperspectral data services for the Copernicus program.
With its recently established presence in the United States, Kuva Space aims to tap into new opportunities with the U.S. Department of Defense and commercial opportunities and broaden its market reach. Hyperspectral satellites for marine environments are a significant technological development for security actors. The global defense geospatial market was valued at $126.4 bn as of 2022.
Another key expansion area is the aquaculture carbon credit market, an essential nature-based solution to combat climate change. Kuva Space is developing AI-based models of above- and underwater monitoring of aquaculture vegetation through pilots in Europe and Africa to measure carbon sequestration accurately from, among others, kelp forests and farms. The blue carbon market holds significant promise, with global demand for carbon credits expected to reach up to $50 billion by 2030.
With three satellites already in space, Kuva Space will launch two new satellites in the coming year and launch its initial services. The first one, Hyperfield-1, is scheduled to launch in June 2024. This will mark the initial stage of Kuva Space’s planned constellation, which aims to deploy up to 100 satellites by 2030.
With local representation in Finland, Japan, Belgium, the USA, and the UK, Kuva Space has raised €22.5M in total funding from Morrow Portfolio, Voima Ventures, Nordic Foodtech VC, Earth VC, VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, and public funding from ESA Philab and Business Finland.