SkyFi lets you order up fresh satellite imagery in real time with a click


Commercial earth observation companies collect an unprecedented amount of imagery and data every day, but purchasing even a single satellite imagery can be cumbersome and time-consuming. SkyFia two-year-old startup wants to change that with an app and API that makes ordering a satellite imagery as easy as clicking a few buttons on a smartphone or computer.

SkyFi does not build or operate satellites; Instead, the company works with over a dozen companies to deliver different types of satellite imagery — including optical, synthetic aperture radar (SAR), and hyperspectral imagery — directly to the customer via a web and mobile app. A SkyFi user can commission a satellite to capture a specific image, or select from a library of previously captured images. SkyFi’s partners include public companies like Satellogic as well as newer startups like Umbra and Pixxel.

The startup is taking a very modern approach to the earth observation industry. SkyFi co-founders Bill Perkins and Luke Fischer emphasize that their company is focused on the user experience and creating a seamless buying process for the consumer, which is in sharp contrast to what Fischer calls “the business models of the 80’s and 90’s”. designated.

“We’re very customer-centric,” said Bill Perkins on the TerraWatch Space Podcast. “The industry is science and product oriented.”

SkyFi’s mission has resonated well with investors. The company completed a $7 million seed round led by Balerion Space Ventures with contributions from existing investors J2 Ventures and Uber Alumna VC firm Moving Capital. Bill Perkins also participated. SkyFi has raised over $17 million to date.

The startup targets three types of customers: individual consumers; large enterprise customers from industries such as agriculture, mining, finance, insurance and more; and US government and defense customers. SkyFi’s solution is attractive even to these latter customers, who may already have a lot of experience working with satellite companies and could afford the high costs in the traditional market.

“Although there are companies that are multi-billion dollar corporations that use our platform that could afford to enter into a multi-million dollar contract year with us [any] As a public satellite company, they’re more cost-conscious, and that’s where this offering from SkyFi comes in,” Fischer said.

Perkins and Fischer saw firsthand the vulnerabilities of the traditional satellite imagery market. For Perkins, trying to buy satellite imagery for his hedge fund was so frustrating that he decided to solve the problem himself.

He decided to work with Fischer, an Army aviation officer who has worked at Uber Elevate, Joby Aviation, and Shield Capital, among others. The two founded SkyFi in December 2021 and officially launched the first product offering last January. To date, the company has registered over 20,000 accounts from 185 countries on the platform.

One of their bets is that the overly bureaucratic and time-consuming sales process has actually dampened demand for satellite imagery. By simplifying the purchase and providing transparent pricing, SkyFi expects to open up entirely new customer bases and use cases.

“There isn’t and never will be a ‘Contact Sales’ button on SkyFi,” Fischer said. “Because it just ruined the industry.”

Going forward, the Austin, Texas-based startup plans to add insights and analytics to the SkyFi app. This feature is particularly useful for customers interested in hyperspectral or SAR imagery. The company also plans more feature updates as it integrates more vendors — from satellites to stratospheric balloons to drones — into the platform.

“I think of SkyFi as the Netflix of the geospatial world, while I think of Umbra, Satellogic and Maxar as the film studios of the world,” said Fischer. “I just want them to produce great content and put it on the platform.”

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