Finnish Earth observation company Kuva Space has raised €16.6M in a funding round led by existing investors Voima Ventures and Nordic Foodtech VC, with Singapore-based Earth VC also participating.

The round also included Finnish private investors through a Finland-based growth funding initiative with Springvest and non-equity funding from Business Finland.

The company will use the capital to develop its hyperspectral camera and space technology, increase hiring, and launch its AI analytics platform.

Kuva Space also said it plans to expand in key markets, starting with the US.

Kuva Space’s commercial microsatellite, equipped with a hyperspectral camera, distinguishes materials on Earth and their condition through its distinct spectral signature.

This means it can monitor things like crop types, plant health and biomass, biodiversity, soil conditions, seaweed growth, algae blooms, and marine chemical pollutants at scale.

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By GlobalData

“We firmly believe that quality and timely spaceborne insights will empower communities to make informed decisions and create a sustainable future,” said Jarkko Antila, CEO of Kuva Space.

Unlike existing Earth observation solutions, where images are delivered based on individual customer requests, Kuva Space will provide the monitoring tool as a subscription service.

Earlier this year, Kuva Space was awarded the NATO Arctic Challenge Innovation winner and a €5m commercial contract from the European Commission to be the sole provider of hyperspectral data services for the Copernicus program.

Hyperspectral satellites for marine environments also have major applications in the security sector.

More recently, events on Earth have been affecting the space economy, with the Russia-Ukraine conflict impacting European Space Agency plans.

With three satellites already in space, the company said it will also launch two new satellites in the coming year and launch its initial services. The first one, Hyperfield-1, is scheduled to launch in June 2024.

Kuva Space also has plans for a constellation, which aims to deploy up to 100 satellites by 2030.

GlobalData’s Thematic Intelligence: The Space Economy report puts the value of the industry in 2022 at $450bn and suggests that it will see a compound annual growth rate of between 6% and 10% from then until 2030 – when it could be worth as much as $1trn.

After a record 2021 investment in space startups, 2022 was a much quieter year. The investment outlook in 2022 and 2023 is the toughest period for space startups since the economic crisis in 2008, with rapidly rising US interest rates hitting market momentum, causing asset prices to tumble.