Adelaide nanosatellite startup Fleet Space Technologies is now worth $350 million after raising $50 million in an oversubscribed series C, the company announced on Wednesday.
Fleet said it will push further into the North American market and develop new AI enabled satellite technologies with the funding.
The Blackbird-led series C funding round follows the commercialisation of its satellite-based mineral exploration technology and Fleet’s first contract with Australia’s nascent Space Command defence agency last month.
Blackbird also led the $40 million series B in 2021 and was joined by returning investors Grok Ventures, Alumni Ventures and Hostplus in the latest round, while TelstraSuper and Bondi Partners join as new backers.
Founded in Adelaide in 2015, Fleet now operates in every continent of the world. It employs more than 100 people, including teams in the US, Canada, Luxembourg and Chile.
Its nanosatellites have mainly been used in mining applications, with around 30 companies worldwide either using or preparing to use its ExoSphere technology to locate critical mineral deposits from space.
Last month, the company announced a move into defence after signing a $6.4 million 16-month contract with Australia’s Space Command defence agency to develop and demonstrate a low-Earth orbit satellite communications system.
On Wednesday, Fleet Space Technologies announced the closing of a $50 million series C, saying the round more than doubled its valuation to beyond $350 million.
“Fleet Space Technologies is a genuine Australian success story, and a key player in our nation’s burgeoning space sector,” South Australian Premier Peter Malinauskas said in the company’s statement.
“I’ve followed the company’s fortunes closely over the years and know just how much time, effort, talent and dedication has gone into this success, which has now been richly and deservedly rewarded with this new funding round.”
The state government’s $50 million South Australian Venture Capital Fund backed Fleet in the earlier Series B but not the Series C.
Fleet co-founder and chief executive Flavia Tata Nardini said investors had responded to the company’s revenue grow and customer acquisition in a booming critical minerals market.
“Since the launch of Exosphere, our groundbreaking product, we have achieved an impressive milestone of reaching $28 million in contracted revenues within a year, deploying customers in every continent of the world,” she said.
Ms Tata Nardini, an Adjunct Industry Professor at the University of South Australia, added there is a need to find and mine more critical minerals around the world.
“We are believers that space enabled data in exploration will allow the search for critical minerals to speed up so much that we will be able to reach humanity’s targets for net zero,” she said.
“With this capital we aim to map the subsurface of Earth and find the deposits that are needed with a much lower environmental impact.”
The company said it would use the new funding to continue its global expansion, particularly in North America, and develop “new technology enabled by Machine Learning and AI”, and new strategic product lines on a global scale through an expanded constellation of satellites.
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