Capturing the Highest Resolution Satellite Imagery – Albedo Raises $48M Series A

Albedo, the ambitious YC W21 graduate who is building the next evolution of earth observation with their aerial quality space imagery has raised a $48M Series A round to allow them to further their goal of delivering unprecedented satellite imagery.

Albedo’s “…mission is to be the catalyst in unlocking satellite imagery’s latent potential, with the goal of expanding current applications and propelling the discovery of new use cases. Whether our imagery is being used to reduce wildfire risk, assess the environmental impact of global forestry, contribute to timely 3D reconstructions of urban areas, or monitor carbon emissions from industrial power plants, our mission is to get better high-resolution data into the hands of decision makers fast.” explains Albedo CEO Topher Haddad.

Founded in November 2020 the goal of the company hasn’t changed and the interest in the moonshot startup has grown substantially. This latest Series A round, co-led by Bill Gates’ Breakthrough Energy Ventures and Shield Capital, brings the company’s total funding raised to date to $58 million.

Previously it was illegal to sell 10-centimeter level imagery, the U.S. Department of Commerce updated the regulatory landscape in mid-2020 allowing higher-resolution imagery to be taken. Albedo was first in line to get access to a license to sell this imagery commercially and was awarded the first-ever license issued in December 2020.

“In a sense, we’re unbundling the stack, as we see that as a key to unlocking a flourishing earth observation industry. Our product team is fully focused on delivering Imagery-as-a-Service and providing the best inputs to the next step in the stack, our customers. We believe this multi-step relationship is key to promoting solution diversity and in the end, will benefit all parties.” the team explains.

With the new cash Albedo plans to complete the testing and development of its first satellite destined for low Earth orbit, they also anticipate the software for operations and imagery distribution to be available to its customer base also.

Topher explains that the Series A allows them to unlock this potential.

“This basically allows us to start going heads-down on executing our technical roadmap with flying in VLEO and obtaining this level of resolution in both optical and thermal infrared. There’s a lot of new core technologies that we’re developing to enable us to do that.”

“With that groundwork laid and a fresh $48M in the bank, it’s time to step on the gas and bring new meaning to the term execution. Over the next two years, we’ll be developing novel precision pointing algorithms, testing prototype electronics, ensuring our telescope mirrors are polished to 1/1000 of a human hair, and so much more; all with our sights set on delivering exquisite imagery to our customers and the impact it will have on our world.”

Read more about the Series A and the exciting progress being made on the Albedo blog here.

Zillionize is a seed round investor which has been investing in technology startups since March 2011. We look for early startups who we believe can see the future. We use a data-driven approach to identify startups we love and want to invest in for the long term. Zillionize has invested in a number of unicorns and we look forward to more of our portfolio joining this list in the years to come.