Space to grow – Newable invests in two Space Technology startups

Newable Ventures is delighted to announce that it has completed investments in two Space Technology startups, PlanetWatchers Ltd and Space Forge Ltd.

PlanetWatchers provides analytics as a service (AaaS) to the crop insurance industry. Founded in 2016, by former Israeli military intelligence officers, they saw the potential for the use of Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) in commercial markets. By possessing such a deep understanding about SAR, the founders identified that by applying SAR based analytics to the crop insurance industry’s processes, they could be made faster, more efficient, objective, digitalised, and remote. With their analytics platform, the company can reduce the typical processing time for an insurance claim from months to a matter of days in an entirely virtual process.

Through this service, the company offers detailed information about policy and claims data, regardless of weather conditions and in almost real-time by using data from a satellite’s SAR signals. “Unlike optical technologies that are sometimes used to monitor crops, SAR is able to accurately determine the status of crops not just by their colour but also by their structure”, notes Planet Watchers co-founder Roi Shilo who adds “This information is currently gathered by insurers and their agents in person, with officials inspecting the crops and writing reports upon which policy is then validated, creating a slow and expensive process”.

PlanetWatchers’s $4 million pre-series A funding round will fund sales growth and further develop software that analyses radar images to monitor crops. The funds will also be used to add more international markets. The round was co-led by Seraphim Space and Creative Ventures, with participation from the Newable Ventures EIS Scale Up Fund, The Trendlines Group, and Ridgeline.

Space Forge is an in-space manufacturing company that has developed a novel approach that allows them to operate without the use of existing infrastructure like the International Space Station, a modular space station in low Earth orbit. This approach is a huge step forward for the industry as materials that can only be manufactured in space have an outsized impact on some of the most pressing issues on our planet, from climate change to disease.

Space Forge was founded by Joshua Western and Andrew Bacon in the UK in 2018 and has since built a strong team, advisory board, a direct working relationship with the European Space Agency, and other European space partners. In 10 months, the team has grown from two people in a garage to 15 in a new satellite manufacturing facility in Cardiff.

The company is building dedicated manufacturing platforms called ForgeStars. The company will operate high cadence operations that are quickly scalable to hundreds of kilograms (with the target of scaling to thousands of kilograms) without the need of astronauts in place for the manufacturing process. Providing scale and high cadence to meet the growing demand for these novel materials in space will validate the company’s technology.

To help achieve this vision, Space Forge has raised a seed round for an undisclosed amount to fund an expansion into the US market. The investment was co-led by Type One Ventures and Space Fund and participated in by a number of funds including the Newable Ventures Syndicate and BPEC.

Newable Ventures is excited to work with PlanetWatchers and Space Forge, both of whom are creating cutting edge technology in their respective industries. These two investments demonstrate Newable Ventures’ commitment to investing in world leading deep-tech businesses, says Avantika Gupta, Associate Investment Director of Newable Ventures.

Newable Ventures Limited (FRN 843924) is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Registered in England and Wales | Registered number 10303336 | VAT number 237 9198 23 | Registered office 140 Aldersgate Street, London, EC1A 4HY. Newable Ventures Limited is registered with the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) with the registered Data Protection Number ZA789052.