Posted: Thursday, February 6, 2020
Astranis, the company building the next generation of telecommunication satellites, today announced a $90 million financing round to launch its first commercial satellite and build the foundation for the internet infrastructure of the future. The round was led by Venrock, with significant participation from existing investor Andreessen Horowitz.
Astranis aims to solve a problem in the modern space race that hasn't been cracked: bringing the next four billion people online with low-cost, reliable internet. The $120 billion market is growing quickly – demand for internet is rising 40% per year, every year – but until now, there has been no practical, cost-effective solution for bringing internet access to remote parts of the world. Astranis is singularly focused on solving this problem.
"Global connectivity is an industry prime for disruption," said Ethan Batraski, partner at Venrock. "Astranis's team and microsatellite technology put them in a strong position to fulfill the needs of the new market, which is vastly different than the market of 20 or 30 years ago."
Astranis is building a first-of-its-kind micro-geostationary orbit (GEO) satellite that is 20 times smaller in size than that of its predecessors – just 350 kg – compared to traditional satellites that are upwards of 6,500 kg. Its secret sauce is a flexible, ultra-wideband software-defined radio technology, which allows Astranis to replace heavy and bulky analog radio hardware with lightweight, compact, digital alternatives. The satellites are small enough to be manufactured and launched in months instead of years, all with more bandwidth than was previously possible with the same form size.
"We know that increasing internet access can change lives for the better, especially for people living in developing countries and the world's most remote locations," said John Gedmark, CEO and co-founder of Astranis. "By connecting those who need connectivity the most, we're encouraging health, learning, and entrepreneurship across the world."
The Series B round includes $40 million of equity financing led by Venrock with continued investment from Andreessen Horowitz and participation from existing investors Fifty Years, Refactor Capital, and Y Combinator, among other funds and angel investors. The recent fundraising also includes a debt facility of up to $50 million from TriplePoint Capital, which Astranis will use to support current and future projects. The company is in talks to kick off new projects around the world in 2020 and 2021 by partnering with internet service providers (ISPs), established satellite operators, governments, and many others. Astranis has raised more than $108 million in financing to date. As part of the most recent financing round, Ethan Batraski and Dan Berkenstock, founding CEO of Skybox, joined the Astranis Board of Directors.
Astranis was founded in 2015 by John Gedmark and Ryan McLinko. Astranis's world-class team includes leaders and engineers from premier satellite and space programs, including SpaceX, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Skybox, Planet Labs, and NASA, in addition to top talent from Qualcomm, Apple, and Google. After tripling its headcount in 2019, Astranis is now a team of over 100 people.
Four billion people still have no internet access. Astranis is here to change that. Headquartered in San Francisco, California, Astranis is a team of more than 100 world-class engineers and entrepreneurs working to build the next generation of internet satellites. Their first commercial satellite will triple the satellite internet bandwidth of Alaska in 2021. For more information, please visit http://www.astranis.com/.
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