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HomeInternationalApple cofounder Wozniak's space startup Privateer acquires Orbital Insight, raises $56.5M 

Apple cofounder Wozniak’s space startup Privateer acquires Orbital Insight, raises $56.5M 

Privateer, the space startup founded by Apple cofounder Steve Wozniak, raised $56.5 million and acquired the analytics firm Orbital Insight. This merger will enhance Privateer’s space data services by adding mapping and intelligence capabilities, according to Privateer’s CEO speaking to Reuters.

Privateer, established in 2021 to assist satellite operators in navigating Earth’s increasingly crowded orbit, recently concluded its Series A funding round in April. The round was spearheaded by Aero X Ventures, a space-focused venture capital firm, with contributions from Luxe Capital, Boca, Starburst, and the Winklevoss twins. The official announcement of this news is expected later on Monday.

Privateer’s satellite-tracking software will integrate with Orbital’s TerraScope Earth observation platform, creating a comprehensive search engine based on recent satellite imagery. 

Privateer’s CEO, Alex Fielding, revealed that the new funding facilitated the acquisition of Palo Alto-based Orbital Insight on April 14. Orbital Insight, which combines various data sources like cell phone location and satellite imagery for its intelligence services, had previously received backing from Sequoia and Google Ventures.

Fielding refrained from disclosing the combined entity’s value or the price of the Orbital Insight acquisition.

Fielding stated that Privateer’s acquisition will broaden its offerings, particularly since revenue prospects in the space situational awareness (SSA) market were constrained. SSA, comparable to air traffic control but for satellites in space, is a budding sector within the space industry. These services are considered vital for satellite navigation due to the absence of international norms regulating the increasing volume of space traffic.

“It’s not really a market, it’s actually a bunch of companies that have been providing a stopgap for the fact that the government hasn’t provided a service for space traffic management,” Fielding said in an interview last week. 

The space startup Privateer is extending its SSA services to satellite imagery companies, aiding them in tasking targets on Earth and navigating their satellites through space debris. In return, Privateer receives a plethora of satellite imagery ordered by the companies’ customers, which could be utilized to create a nearly real-time mapping and intelligence service.

The amassed imagery will feed into a new platform, which Fielding anticipates will be publicly released within the next six months.

“You take the image once, you should be able to sell it a million times, for a fraction of the acquisition price,” Fielding said, referring to the satellite imagery companies with whom Privateer is working to integrate their data. 

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