TAMPA, Fla. — Fleet Space Technologies has raised around $33 million in a Series C round to expand its satellite-based mineral exploration services.

The funding round valued the eight-year-old Australian venture at more than $350 million Australian dollars ($232 million), Fleet Space said in a May 24 news release, doubling its valuation since 2021.

Australasian venture capital firm and existing investor Blackbird led the Series C round.

Fleet Space said the funds would primarily support the expansion of its Exosphere mineral prospecting business, particularly into North America.

ExoSphere uses low-power ground sensors distributed in areas of interest that send seismic data to customers via Fleet Space’s low Earth orbit (LEO) constellation, which currently comprises seven satellites.

This satellite-enabled ambient noise tomography system can map out 3D subsurface models in a matter of days, according to Fleet Space chief marketing officer Chloé Leclerc, compared with conventional techniques that often take weeks or even months — particularly for solutions gathering data that can only be accessed following a collection period.

ExoSphere has secured more than 30 customers since launching commercially in March 2022, including Rio Tinto, Barrick Gold Corporation, Core Lithium, and Gold Fields.

Fleet Space was formed with aspirations to connect a broader range of Internet of Things (IoT) devices with as many as 140 satellites. 

Leclerc said the venture has since decided to focus on growing its mineral exploration business globally with a smaller constellation of more powerful and capable satellites.

While Leclerc did not disclose further details about its revised constellation plans, she said its next launch is slated for 2024 in a year Fleet Space aims to deploy four satellites.

Fleet Space has not entirely shifted away from seeking to serve customers outside of mineral exploration. The venture announced April 20 that it had secured a contract from Australia’s Defence Space Command, worth 6.4 million Australian dollars ($4.2 million), to develop a LEO network focused on tactical communications.

Other investors in Fleet Space’s Series C funding round include Grok Ventures, Alumni Ventures, Hostplus, TelstraSuper Bondi Partners / The 1941 Fund, and Pavilion Capital.

Jason Rainbow writes about satellite telecom, space finance and commercial markets for SpaceNews. He has spent more than a decade covering the global space industry as a business journalist. Previously, he was Group Editor-in-Chief for Finance Information...