Urthecast lays off San Francisco staff

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SAN FRANCISCO — Earth imaging company UrtheCast laid off 12 members of its San Francisco-based platform and data analytics team July 1 and offered three additional employees the option to remain with the company but work remotely, according to former UrtheCast employees.

Jeff Rath, UrtheCast executive vice president for corporate finance and strategy, confirmed that the Vancouver-based company did “reduce its San Francisco footprint” and “let a few employees go” but he denied reports that the firm closed its San Francisco office and declined to comment on the number of workers affected, saying the company does not publicize personnel decisions.

In a July 1 blog post, UrtheCast spokeswoman Theras Wood hinted that the firm was scaling back its operations in San Francisco and consolidating its software engineering workforce in Vancouver.

“With the operations and development of the UrthePlatform and UrtheCast’s other products and services now strategically aligned and closely integrated, our UrthePlatform team is now being led from, and largely based in, Vancouver,” Wood wrote. “This integrated team, which will continue to include a presence in the San Francisco Bay Area, will further improve the UrthePlatform by adding new functionalities and datasets to help our customers extract and tap the true potential of this growing data repository.”

Overall, the company continues to grow in terms of revenues, employees and products offered, Rath said. Since UrtheCast was established in 2012, its staff of five has grown to include approximately 250 employees.

Meanwhile, its business changed from streaming data from cameras mounted on the International Space Station to creating a cloud-based platform to aggregate and disseminate Earth imagery captured by its own space-based cameras and those of other government and commercial satellite operators.

In addition to signaling changes in its San Francisco office, Wood’s July 1 blog post said UrtheCast will soon incorporate imagery from the European Space Agency’s Sentinel-2 land-monitoring constellation and from the high-resolution Deimos-2 satellite. Last year, UrtheCast acquired the Deimos constellation from Elecnor, S.A.