Swissto12 raises $18.44 million, works with Tyvak on mini geostationary satellites

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This article was corrected Aug. 29 at 2:05 Eastern time to clarify Swissto12’s plan to work with Tyvak. 

SAN FRANCISCO – Swissto12, a European telecommunications component company, raised 18.1 million Swiss francs ($18.44 million), established a U.S. offices and announced plans to work with Tyvak Nano-Satellite Systems to support geostationary satellite customers.

With Series B funding announced Aug. 29, Swissto12 “will industrialize further its processes and expand production capability to address business cases like constellations as well as overall commercial demand,” Swissto12 CEO Emile de Rijk told SpaceNews.

With the new funding, Swissto12 also is moving into new markets. It recently established a U.S. subsidiary, Swissto12 Inc. in Santa Clara, California, and an office in Israel. “The aim is to increase our capacity to serve U.S. clients as well as increase our overall payload and systems engineering capabilities,” de Rijk said.

In the aerospace industry, Swissto12 is known primarily for additively manufacturing components like antenna arrays and waveguides. Swissto12 components already are flying on at least one satellite in low Earth orbit, but the firm does not have the satellite operator’s permission to reveal which one. Additional Swissto12 components have been integrated in communications satellites scheduled to launch to geostationary orbit later this year, de Rijk said.

In the future, Swissto12 plans to combine its own additively manufactured components with products from other suppliers to create payloads and subsystems, said Michael Kalinski, Swissto12 head of payload systems engineering.

“We see clear opportunities in a number of market segments including small satellites in low Earth orbit and microsatellites in geosynchronous orbit,” de Rijk added.

Swissto12 also is working with Tyvak, a Terran Orbital Corp., to provide customers with a resource for dishwasher-size communications satellites for geostationary orbit.

“Tyvak has an innovative approach to spacecraft design, manufacturing, integration and mission operation,” de Rijk said. “We bring an innovative set of solutions to the table for the payload. Putting those together provides for an interesting mix of innovation with space heritage that can help customers get an optimal price-performance-heritage ratio.”

Swissto12’s latest funding round was led by Swisscom Ventures and Swisscanto Invest, a venture capital and growth financing fund. Constantia New Business, the investment arm of Austrian industrial conglomerate Constantia Industries that led Swissto12’s Series A round, provided additional Series B funding.

“With its innovative 3D-printing technology, Swissto12 is leading the way into the next generation of microwave components such as waveguides, antennas and filters, giving the aerospace industry unrivaled solutions in terms of performance, weight and size,” Pär Lange, Swisscom Ventures partner, said in a statement. “As the satellite industry is transforming with many low Earth constellation initiatives on the way, we believe that Swissto12 will have an important part to play in this development, and we are excited to be part of that journey together with Swissto12.”

Kaliski and the four other employees in Swissto12’s U.S. office all worked previously for SSL, the Palo Alto, California, satellite manufacturer purchased in 2012 by Canada’s MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates, which is now a Maxar Technologies company.

Through SSL, the Swissto12 employees gained expertise in “buying individual items and integrating them,” Kaliski said. “We’re trying to combine the best of that approach with products, performance, price points and schedules people are demanding now.”