SkyWatch Launches Into Orbit with $4 Million Funding Round

SkyWatch has announced a $4 million funding round.

The Waterloo-based startup will use the new money to continue developing their aggregation and distribution platform designed for satellite data. The funding round was led by Sinai Ventures and Space Angels, with participation from Golden Venture Partners, Techstars Ventures, SK Ventures, Globalive Capital, and ARC Angel Fund. SkyWatch works out of the Communitech Data Hub.

The SkyWatch platform, which is called EarthCache, lets different companies integrate satellite observation data into their applications in a cost-effective way. The market for data and services relating to the observation of earth is a big market right now and will only grow over the next decade. There are plans for thousands of satellites to launch, and the projected growth for the market will jump from $3 billion USD in 2016 to $15 billion in 2026.

The company first came about in 2014 at Space Apps Toronto. At the time, it was focused on looking upwards and offering a visual representation of data captured by observatories. SkyWatch was founded in response to the Alert! Alert! challenge, which called for a central place for information and visualizations of various sky phenomena.

SkyWatch can offer data for a certain fixed price depending on how high of a resolution the client wants and how much ground they want to cover. Prices can range from five dollars per square kilometre up to 50 dollars. They are looking for developers building applications with high-resolution data and can no longer support companies only looking for open data.

“Because Earth observation data has the potential to positively impact everyday life in so many ways, everyone should have the ability to easily incorporate this unique data type into their software applications,” said James Slifierz, SkyWatch’s CEO and co-founder. However, the barriers have been far too high, until now. SkyWatch was started with this vision and we’ve spent the past three years developing our platform alongside our early adopters.”

“Satellite data integration into any software application is now as easy as payments integration via Stripe, or communications integration via Twilio. We’re excited for the tremendous growth ahead, for both the company and the industry.”

The new funding will go towards hiring new team members, accelerating product development and building out new partnerships. As of right now, SkyWatch is engaged in communications with 30 different satellite operators as they look to service customers across several different industries such as agriculture, infrastructure, energy and more.

In the past, SkyWatch the built NASA-award winning software Supernova, which can collect, organize and process astronomical data. SkyWatch also hosted the 2017 Space Apps Challenge, handing out four awards to organizations like Four Shades of Brown and the Hackstreet Boys.