San Francisco based Planet Labs closed $118 million in Series C financing with $23M coming in at the end of the round from the International Finance Corporation. (We covered the first close in January.) This latest round exceeds the $93 million dollar goal set by the company which builds “off-the-shelf” electronics that are placed into satellites used to map the globe. The company’s goal is to map the entire Earth in order to better understand the planet and its changing ecosystems.
Data Collective led the charge early in this round back in January with a $70 million investment along with Yuri Milner, Draper Fisher, Capricorn Investment Group, O’Reilly Alpha Tech Ventures, Founders Fund, First Round Capital, Innovation Endeavors, AME Cloud Ventures, Industry Ventures, Felicis Ventures, Lux Capital, and Ray Rothrock. Yesterday the IFC came in with an additional $23 million to close the round higher than expected.
The funds will be used for the continued manufacture and deployment of Planet Labs satellites, ground stations and technical support, as well as for marketing and business strategies designed to reach emerging markets, including those geared toward agriculture.
“Satellite imagery is an important tool for economic development and disaster risk response, and Planet Labs’ datasets can help bridge the information gap many emerging markets now face. IFC’s investment will help ensure more companies and communities in developing countries have the information they need to grow in a smart and sustainable way,” said Nikunj Jinsi, Global Head of Venture Capital at IFC, in a statement released by the fund.
Planet Labs builds and operates Dove nanosatellites. With the help of NanoRacks, based out of Webster, TX, the satellites were first deployed from the International Space Station in September of 2013 and the experiment is ongoing.
According to NASA, the imagery generated by these satellites has far reaching applications, including the ability to map and monitor agricultural yields in developing nations.
The satellites operate within 52 degrees of the Earth’s equator, which is where most of the planet’s population and agricultural activity is based. The satellites revisit these areas more frequently than government based satellites are capable of doing.
IFC is a member of the World Bank Group and is the largest global development institution focused exclusively on the private sector. As we reported last year, IFC has invested $1 billion in the agribusiness value chain in Africa, and plans to double the investment by 2018.
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