Axelspace Corporation, a leading micro-satellite developer, today announced the financing of ¥1.8 billion ($15 million) as its Series A round. The round was led by Global Brain Corporation and included other 5 venture capitals in Japan. Mitsui & Co., Ltd. and Sky Perfect JSAT Corporation also participated in the round with strategic investments. The two companies respectively agreed to build strategic business ties with Axelspace at the same time.
Axelspace will use this funding to develop and launch 3 micro-satellites for Earth observation in 2017. The company will then enter into satellite image and data service market in collaboration with its strategic business partners.
“Axelspace is now at its biggest and most important turning point,” says Yuya Nakamura, president and CEO at Axelspace. “We have focused on custom-made micro-satellites since we founded this company. It was not easy to satisfy client needs under various constraints. We always needed a trade-off between performance and cost. Through this experience, however, we learned how to build a very sophisticated and well-balanced micro-satellite.”
Yuya continues, “Now is the time for us to embark on a new business. We can manufacture dozens of micro-satellites if we have a budget for just one traditional satellite. We would like to construct an open information platform with our satellite constellation. I am confident that the platform will contribute to increasing our knowledge in various industries. The key of this platform is its openness. So we welcome other data providers as well. I am sincerely looking forward to collaborating with many data users and providers around the world.”
“Axelspace has the best and brightest people, which is a very important factor in this industry,” says Hidetaka Aoki, venture partner at Global Brain. “The commercial market of satellite image and data business will expand rapidly and Axelspace will be one of the promising companies to lead this market.”
GRUS is an 80kg Earth observation micro-satellite developed by Axelspace. It is equipped with high-performance optical telescopes, which enable it to take images with 2.5m ground resolution and over 50km swath. Our knowledge and technology on micro-satellites having been accumulated since the establishment of Axelspace greatly contributed to its unprecedented low cost compared to traditional satellites with equivalent capabilities. Axelspace plans to constantly launch GRUS satellites to construct a daily monitoring network to cover the entire globe. For more information about GRUS satellite, visit here.
Axelspace is a Tokyo-based company founded in 2008. The company’s strengths originally come from the world-leading micro-satellite technology at the University of Tokyo and Tokyo Institute of Technology. The company’s first satellite “WNISAT-1” was launched in 2013. It is a purely commercial satellite ordered by Weathernews Inc., the world’s largest weather information company. Axelspace launched its second satellite “Hodoyoshi-1” in 2014, and demonstrated the possibility of micro-satellite businesses. Learn more at www.axelspace.com.