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Hydrosat raises $10m Seed Round to assess climate change from space

Press Release From: OTB Ventures
Posted: Tuesday, November 16, 2021

Hydrosat, the geospatial data and analytics company, announces a new Seed Round raising $10M to create its thermal infrared satellite constellation. Today’s funding brings Hydrosat’s total capital raised to over $15M. The oversubscribed venture round was led by OTB Ventures, a leading European venture firm with a dedicated space investment vehicle, OTB Space Program I. Freeflow Ventures, Cultivation Capital, Santa Barbara Venture Partners, and Expon Capital also participated in the round.

Hydrosat began as a satellite company monitoring the water cycle to rapidly detect environmental stress brought about by climate change. Recent climate disasters, ranging from drought on the West Coast to flash floods on the East Coast of the United States, illustrates the growing importance of this technology as the world’s major governments meet this month for the United Nations COP26 Climate Change Conference.

“Water is fundamental to life on Earth, especially to agriculture and industry” says Hydrosat CEO, Pieter Fossel. “However, Earth’s freshwater resources are under stress brought on by the collision of climate change and population growth. “Mega droughts, such as the one currently impacting the western and central United States lead to declines in crop yields. Meanwhile wildfires and environmental damage create further economic loss with devastating impact to human life. With this investment we will be able to assess the temperature of the earth’s surface at high resolution on a daily basis to help organizations make more informed and timely decisions.”

Hydrosat measures water stress through land surface temperature. Like perspiration in humans, plants cool themselves through evaporation. When plants are stressed or lack sufficient water, they halt the release of water vapor, and their temperature rises. Hydrosat can detect plant stress from this change in temperature weeks earlier than it can be detected using current commercial earth observation systems. This new funding will accelerate the delivery of the company’s global land surface temperature product.

“Hydrosat produces extremely powerful data for monitoring climate risks and for our food and water supply,” said Adam Niewinski, Co-Founder and General Partner at OTB. “There is nothing else like it on the market. One of the things that most excited us about Hydrosat is their robust analytics capability, even before a single spacecraft is in orbit.”

OTB is no stranger to satellite remote sensing, with a dedicated space investment vehicle, OTB Space Program I, and having been a major investor in ICEYE, the radar satellite constellation. “OTB is a great partner because of their deep sector expertise in satellite remote sensing and geospatial analysis” said Fossel. “Hydrosat is doing in infrared what ICEYE has done in radar. We could not be happier partnering with OTB to make that a reality.”

Hydrosat’s pathfinder mission, VanZyl-1, is being developed in partnership with thermal infrared domain experts. The team includes ABB, a leading global technology company who have previously delivered optical systems for NASA, the European, Canadian and Japanese Space Agencies, and GHGSat. For calibration and validation support, Hydrosat has partnered with the Rochester Institute of Technology Chester F. Carlson Center for Imaging Science Digital Imaging and Remote Sensing Laboratory (RIT). The RIT team has experience supporting calibration and validation of thermal infrared imagers for NASA’s Landsat series of satellites. Hydrosat’s payloads will be integrated with a Loft Orbital satellite bus and launch on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.

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