TAMPA, Fla. — Skynopy has raised $3.1 million to break into the ground satellite services market by leveraging underutilized infrastructure from constellation operators, the eight-month-old French startup announced June 24.

Founded by two former directors of space infrastructure provider Loft Orbital, Skynopy aims to simplify data transfer services between ground stations and satellites in low Earth orbit (LEO) for operators seeking to outsource their teleport needs to save costs.

The venture raised more than initially planned to invest in its own ground station sites with the latest flat panel, phased array antenna technology to meet growing LEO connectivity demand, Skynopy co-founder and CEO Pierre Bertrand said. 

While at Loft Orbital, a “condosat” operator, Bertrand saw how “satellite operators and platform manufacturers always have this growing pain to internalize all of the competencies and [radio frequency] engineers to connect to existing ground stations.”

Skynopy is developing kit that Bertrand likened to a mobile phone SIM card to help satellite operators quickly set up access to the venture’s network of partner ground stations.

Customers would pay for how much capacity they use instead of the time they lease teleports, while already having the tools they need to expand coverage within the network.

Skynopy has one partner so far and two more close to being secured, according to Bertrand, covering dozens of ground stations worldwide.

For the constellation partner, Skynopy offers them a way to monetize unused ground station capacity under a revenue-sharing business model. 

He said a broadband constellation such as SpaceX’s Starlink or Eutelsat’s OneWeb might have as many as five ground stations going spare at a site housing 20 of them for redundancy.

Skynopy plans to use the funding to expand its team of engineers and develop the software needed to compete against RBC Signals, KSAT, Leaf Space and others already offering ground infrastructure as a service to help operators avoid terrestrial infrastructure costs.

French public sector investment bank BPI France participated in Skynopy’s funding round, alongside early-stage investors Heartcore Capital, Kima Ventures and Better Angle. Entrepreneurs Thibaud Elziere and Yohann Leroy also invested in the company.

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...