Thermal infrared imagery showing fields and forests around Dusseldorf, Germany. Credit: constellr

SAN FRANCISCO – German thermal satellite data startup constellr raised 17 million euros ($18.93) in seed funding.

Karista led the round. Participants included Einstein Industries Ventures, FTTF, Lakestar, Vsquared, Amathaon Capital, Natural Ventures, OHB Ventures and EIT Food.

With the latest funding, announced July 20, constellr plans to accelerate deployment of its 100-kilogram thermal imagery satellites and meet growing global demand.

Constellr’s first thermal infrared imaging sensor traveled to the International Space Station in 2022 on a Northrop Grumman resupply mission.  

Thermal Imagery Constellation

The first satellite in constellr’s operational constellation are scheduled to launch in 2024.

“We only need four satellites to deliver daily imagery to any field on the globe,” Max Gulde, constellr CEO and co-founder, told SpaceNews in a recent interview. “Then, it’s really a question of market demand.”

Rather than focusing on imagery resolution, constellr is intent on providing accurate data.  

For agricultural applications, “it’s really about the repeatability and the sensitivity and the precision of the measurement,” Gulde said.

Government Grants

Constellr was one of three companies awarded 5 million euro contracts from the European Commission and the European Space Agency to supply thermal data to complement observations collected through the Copernicus Earth-observation program.

Prior to the recent fundraising announcement, constellr had raised about $14 million in venture capital and received an additional $14 million in grants.

“We believe constellr’s approach to building the most precise layer of thermal imaging data will accelerate a paradigm shift in how the global agricultural sector adapts to the impacts of an evolving climate,” Gulde said in a statement. “Having the stamp of approval from both Karista, who will drive our French market entry, and Einstein, with their deep space industry expertise, alongside our existing top-tier investor base, is a huge step in validating our solution.”

In April, constellr acquired ScanWorld, a Belgian hyperspectral satellite imagery and analytics startup.

“Investing in constellr is a unique opportunity for us to be at the forefront of a [space technology] revolution that deeply transforms terrestrial industries, including agriculture and climate-related concerns,” Michael Thomas, Karista investment director, said in a statement. “Thanks to this additional fundraising and its unique management team execution capabilities, constellr will reinforce its leading position in Europe and accelerate and expand its commercial footprint globally, especially addressing substantial market demand from the US.”

Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly described the size of constellr satellites. They are about 100-kilograms apiece.

Debra Werner is a correspondent for SpaceNews based in San Francisco. Debra earned a bachelor’s degree in communications from the University of California, Berkeley, and a master’s degree in Journalism from Northwestern University. She...