British satellite scale-up Satellite Vu has raised £15 million ($20.7 million) as it looks to bring satellite technology for addressing global challenges. The company founded in 2016, aims to ramp up plans to launch seven thermal and infrared imaging satellites into space that will be able to provide real-time data on how green every building on the planet is.
Satellite rollout in October 2022
Satellite Vu’s first satellite, due to be launched into orbit in October 2022, will collect real-time temperature data about the Earth’s built environment several times a day, allowing for key insights around energy efficiency and how individual buildings are being used and occupied. By measuring the heat coming off a building, the startup will provide data that will be able to show if any individual building is being heated efficiently or which parts of a city are the worst emissions offenders. This matters acutely when it comes to the built environment because the real estate industry is one of the largest contributors to climate change. It makes up 40% of global carbon emissions when accounting for construction and building performance.
Stellar list of investors
The round was led by the space tech fund Seraphim Space Investment Trust Plc. Draper Esprit, the leading venture capital firm investing in and developing high growth technology businesses, was the second biggest investor. Other investors participating include A/O PropTech, Europe’s largest proptech VC; Ridgeline Ventures; Earth Science Foundation; E2MC Ventures and Stellar Solutions/Ford Family Trust. The funding round highlights its rapid growth, coming only six months after its seed funding round of £3.6m ($5 million).
Mitigating impact of climate change
Anthony Baker, CEO of Satellite Vu, said: “With COP 26 just around the corner and Europe and parts of the USA having suffered the hottest summer on record, there is growing acceptance that we need to act now to try to mitigate the impacts of climate change on our everyday lives and economy. But while many think of industries such as aviation as some of the least sustainable, the built environment is actually one of the primary polluters across our globe. But regular individual monitoring of these buildings is too expensive both in terms of time and cost, meaning much of the environmental and sustainable ratings are often years out of date. That’s simply not good enough when we clearly need to act now and means many are not aware of just how poorly a building is performing in terms of sustainably.
Access real-time information at affordable cost
“Our groundbreaking use of infrared and thermal imaging technology on our satellites will mean that landlords, funders, insurers and governments and regulators will be able to access real-time information at an affordable cost that will provide them with a single source of truth on how sustainable a building really is meaning they can take steps to make that building more sustainable. This latest round of funding means we can look ahead to the launch of our first satellite in late 2022 and start the process of securing delivery slots for the remaining six.”
George Chalmers, Associate, Draper Esprit said: “Retrofitting the world’s existing building stock is a key lever for achieving any net-zero roadmap. Currently, we are lacking the insight needed to deploy, at scale, the trillions of dollars needed in this area. Consistent and robust data is crucial across every layer of the stack, from government and regulators to financiers and insurers. Satellite Vu is bringing a whole new category of data and solutions to these important markets. We believe in its potential to lead the charge in how we measure the energy efficiency and carbon footprint of our built world and deliver on the promises we are making to our planet.”
The startup has also been backed by the UK Space Agency through its National Space Innovation Programme (NSIP) to support the build of the infrared sensor for its first satellite. The UK Government recently launched a National Space Strategy aimed at advancing British space technology, which included measures to back businesses like Satellite Vu that help tackle global challenges such as climate change.