Earth imaging satellite SPAC deals announced back to back

Earth imaging satellite SPAC deals announced back to back

Business news |
Two satellite imagery companies have announced deals with special-purpose acquisition companies (SPACs) for the purpose of becoming public companies.
By Rich Pell


High-resolution satellite data collection company Satellogic and Google-backed Earth data and analytics company Planet Labs have both announced deals to merge with SPACs to become publicly-traded companies. Satellogic seeks to remap the entire surface of the Earth daily in sub-meter resolution and at an affordable price, while Planet Labs delivers a daily scan of Earth’s entire landmass from approximately 200 satellites – claimed to be the largest Earth imaging satellite fleet ever.

Satellogic announced it entered into a merger agreement with CF Acquisition Corp. V (Nasdaq: CFV), a SPAC sponsored by financial services firm Cantor Fitzgerald. The transaction is expected to be completed early in the fourth quarter of 2021, after which Satellogic will trade on the Nasdaq under the ticker symbol “SATL.”

The company’s unique, patented camera design reportedly captures 10 times more data from a single satellite than any other small Earth observation satellite. Satellogic currently has 17 commercial satellites in orbit, including four launched on June 30.

At 70 centimeters per pixel, says the company, the high-resolution images of Earth produced by its satellites add up to more capacity than the next four competitors combined: Each satellite collects approximately 300,000 sq km of data per day, significantly more than any competitor, and produces full-motion videos of up to two minutes in length.

“Since our founding, Satellogic has been committed to our mission of democratizing access to geospatial data to help solve the world’s most pressing problems,” says Emiliano Kargieman, CEO & Co-Founder of Satellogic. “The merger will allow us to continue building out our constellation of satellites and maintain our position as a global leader in sub-meter imagery. Satellogic is poised to be the only company capable of remapping the world daily at the sub-meter resolution necessary to address commercial applications affordably.”

Howard W. Lutnick, Chairman & CEO of CFAC V and Cantor Fitzgerald adds, “Satellogic is uniquely positioned to dominate the Earth Observation industry. Its technology, data, and analytics have vast use cases across countless industries. Imagine insurance companies being able to document disaster damage in real-time detail remotely. Or an app providing direct daily satellite data to a farmer about the best time to harvest crops. Or bringing live documentation of deforestation or rising sea levels to policymakers to drive the discussion around climate change. The possibilities are limitless.”

Meanwhile, Planet Labs announced that it has entered into a definitive merger agreement with dMY Technology Group, Inc. IV (NYSE: DMYQ). Upon closing, the combined company will retain the Planet name and be listed on the NYSE under the ticker symbol “PL.” The transaction values Planet at a post-transaction equity value of approximately $2.8 billion.

The company claims a proven track record of success, generating over $100 million in revenue in its last fiscal year ended January 31, 2021, and currently serves more than 600 customers across 65 countries, with its data being used in various applications including:

  • In agriculture, Planet’s data helps farmers increase crop yields and revenue, decrease costs such as fertilizer use, and adopt sustainable agriculture practices.
  • Governmental organizations use Planet’s data to increase global security and transparency by monitoring threats, responding to emergencies, and enforcing local permitting.
  • In forestry, Planet’s data is used to measure and stop deforestation and to monitor sustainability initiatives.
  • In mapping, Planet’s imagery helps keep digital maps up to date as the world changes, whether through environmental effects or urban development.

The company’s data – which is optimized for machine learning and delivered via a cloud-native platform – systematically and consistently documents change across the planet on a daily basis. The company’s satellite constellation captures over 3 million images per day, covering over 300 million square kilometers and generating approximately 25 terabytes of data per day. Planet largely operates a subscription-based business model in which customers purchase proprietary data feeds. Planet views its one-to-many model as differentiated, as the data and analytics can be sold multiple times to multiple customers, enabling high profit margins.

The company says its business is enabled by “agile aerospace,” in which its vertical integration of satellite design, manufacturing, and operation allows it to cost-effectively develop new data layers and quickly address emerging market requirements relative to other satellite Earth data providers. The merger transaction, says the company, will enable it to invest to accelerate its growth by further expanding into existing and new markets, as well as building additional software and machine-learning-enabled data products and solutions.

“At Planet our goal is to use space to help life on Earth,” says Planet CEO and Co-founder Will Marshall. “We have this huge new dataset – an image of the entire Earth landmass every day – which we serve up via a Bloomberg-like terminal for Earth data, making it simple to consume and expanding reach to potentially millions of users across dozens of verticals. As the world shifts to a more sustainable economy and more companies and governments set their sustainability and ESG [Environmental, Social, and Corporate Governance] goals, the first step in achieving these objectives is measurement. Planet’s daily, global data is foundational to making that transition.”

Niccolo de Masi, CEO of dMY IV adds, “We believe Planet is a new kind of data company, delivering mission-critical insights and solutions to some of the world’s most influential companies and governmental organizations. The Company’s daily, global dataset is impressive and we believe serves as the foundation of a rapidly growing and scalable data-as-a-service subscription business, which we believe is poised for significant growth as data increasingly becomes the fuel that powers the global economy. When you combine their visionary leadership team, talented workforce, vast dataset and transformational technology, it’s an indication that Planet is on a path to become one of the most consequential companies in a generation.”

The transaction is expected to close later this year, subject to the usual approval and conditions.

Planet Labs

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