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CHAPTER 7: TECNOLATINAS PROFILES

 

Satellogic: Opening New Markets Through True Innovation

 

Industry: Nano-Satellites, Platform as a Service
Country: Argentina – United States
CEO: Emiliano Kargieman
Website: http://www.satellogic.com
HQ: Palo Alto CA,USA
Argentina
Employees: 30

Founded in 2010 by the mathematician and philosopher Emiliano Kagieman, Satellogic is one of the most attractive new companies in Latin America. It specializes in building low cost nano-satellites (aka Nanosats), which seek to democratize access to space based services by dramatically reducing the barriers to obtain real-time satellite data. And while this may sound too ambitious, the company is proving over and over that it is actually possible.

For this reason, this is one of the projects that best demonstrates the evolution of the entrepreneurial ecosystem for technological companies in Argentina.

Such is its potential, that its first capital rising round was a complete success. Managing to put together an unprecedented pool of local investors, both from the public and the private sector the company raised USD$2 Million. These investors included the Argentine Ministry of Science, Technology and Productive Innovation; NXTP Labs, a seed-fund that invests in technological based startups in the region; and some of the most renowned angel investors in the region like Kevin Hartz, Patricio Jutard, Brad Galinghouse, Ariel Arrieta, and Santiago Pinto. The company also obtained technical assistance from the INVAP (an Argentine state-owned company related to the satellite manufacturing and nuclear sectors).

Based in Bariloche, in the Argetntine Patagonia, the company used the funds raised in this first round to put its first nanosats in orbit between 2013 and 2014, becoming the region’s first company to launch such technology into space. Called Captain Beto (Cubebug-1), Manolito (CubeBug-2), and Tita (BugSat-1), launches were conducted in China and Russia, and were a complete success.

These achievements proved that Satellogic’s plan of launching hundreds of small nanosites into Earth’s closest planetary orbit in order to acquire information and high quality images in real time is, indeed, viable.

Having validated its product and business plan, the company rocketed into a new investment round, where it obtained funds from several investors like the Brazilian fund Pintaga, Value Capital Group, and China’s Tencent Holding. The co-investment vehicle Endeavor Catalyst also participated in this round. While the sum the company raised is undisclosed, it is known that Pitanga Fund’s average ticket for similar investments is of R$15 Million (USD$4.7 Million at the time of the announcement). Just do the math to realize how high an investment the company must have received. A number that is certainly very high for our region.

The next phase for this first Latin American nanosat startup having put 3 nano-satellites into orbit, is to launch its first constellation of such devices. Called The Aleph, a name honouring the famous short story by Argentine writer Jorge Luis Borges, this project was announced in April 2016, and is to set to be completed by late 2017.

In so doing, Satellogic will be able to provide commercial quality high-resolution image data flows in real time at a fraction of the current cost. This will reduce barriers to real time satellite data, democratizing access to space-based services, resulting in an infinite universe of possible applications, from estimating revenues by tracking cars in a supermarket parking lot, to the detection of the growth of forest fires.

By placing itself ahead of the curve of innovation, by developing a new technology that leverages the possibilities and needs of the region, Satellogic is certainly set to be one of the future tech giants not just in Latin America, but in the entire world.

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