WASHINGTON — Japanese startup Synspective announced March 29 it raised $100 million to continue its development of a constellation of synthetic aperture radar (SAR) satellites.
Tokyo-based Synspective said it raised the Series B round from a group of investors led by Sompo Japan Insurance Inc., Nomura SPARX Investment, Inc. and Singapore-based Pavilion Capital Pte. Ltd. The funding round includes loans, although the company did not disclose the split between debt and equity.
The Series B round comes nearly three years after a previous funding round that brought the amount raised by the company to $100 million. With a total of $200 million raised to date, Synspective said it is among the largest startups in Japan in any industry.
Synspective plans to use the finding to accelerate development of a constellation of 30 SAR satellites it expects to have in orbit by 2026. The company has launched two satellites to date: StriX α in December 2020 and StriX β Feb. 28, both on Rocket Lab Electron rockets. The latter launch was the first of a three-launch deal between Synspective and Rocket Lab announced in December 2021.
Synspective says the funding will go toward development of “mass production facilities” for its satellites as well as development of products based on the data those satellites collect. The funding will also support the company’s global expansion plans, but it did not elaborate on what those plans entail.
“We are very grateful for the opportunity to welcome new investors and collaborative partners to expand our business more strongly and globally,” Motoyuki Arai, chief executive of Synspective, said in a statement about the funding round. “We will further accelerate the expansion of a 30 SAR satellite constellation and enhance our data analysis technology to realize a ‘learning world’ for a sustainable future.”
Investors in Synspective emphasized in the statement the company’s work in using SAR data to address the effects of climate change and natural disasters. “Synspective will be directly involved in disaster mitigation by developing and operating SAR satellites and providing solution services that utilize SAR data,” said Choun Chee Kong, head of Japan investments for Pavilion Capital.
Synspective is just one of several companies actively developing constellations of SAR satellites, seeking to tap into growing interest in such imagery that can provide data regardless of lighting conditions or cloud cover. Capella Space, Iceye, PredaSAR and Umbra are among the others actively developing and launching SAR constellations.