A satellite image of the Ever Given container ship stuck in Egypt’s Suez Canal, taken on March 25, 2021.
Earth satellite imagery specialist Satellogic is preparing to go public, announcing on Tuesday that it will be the latest in a series of space companies merging with PSPCs.
Satellogic merges with the ad hoc acquisition company CF Acquisition Corp. V – a SPAC sponsored by Cantor Fitzgerald which trades under the symbol CFV. The deal gives the space company a stock valuation of $ 1.1 billion and is expected to close early in the fourth quarter, resulting in Satellogic listing on Nasdaq under the symbol SATL.
A special purpose SPAC or acquisition company raises capital through an initial public offering and uses the proceeds to buy a private company and go public.
Satellogic has 17 imaging satellites in orbit so far, but that’s a fraction of the number it needs to bring projected annual turnover nearly $ 800 million in four years.
“We will develop the full [satellite] constellation by 2025 to 300 satellites, to get daily remaps of the entire planet, “Emiliano Kargieman, CEO of Satellogic, told CNBC.” We think this will really change the way businesses make decisions every day. “
The deal is expected to add roughly $ 274 million in cash to Satellogic’s growth, thanks to funds raised by CFV and a $ 100 million PIPE round of funding – or private investment in public capital – led by SoftBank and Cantor Fitzgerald. . The company has previously raised more than $ 100 million in venture capital and debt since its inception in 2010, with existing Satellogic investors, Brazilian venture capital fund Pitanga and the Inter-American Development Bank. Chinese giant Tencent was previously an investor in Satellogic, but someone familiar with the matter told CNBC the company is no longer a shareholder.
“Satellogic is uniquely positioned to dominate the Earth observation industry. Its technology, data and analytics have broad use cases in countless industries,” said Cantor President and CEO Fitzgerald, Howard Lutnick, in a statement.
CFV shares were up 1.6% from their previous close of $ 9.71.
With 240 employees worldwide, Satellogic is headquartered in Montevideo, Uruguay, while its research and development team is based across the border in Argentina. The company is also present in Spain, Israel, the United States and Beijing.
Satellogic joins a trend of space companies going public through SPAC deals, with Virgin Galactic being the first of a recent generation in 2019. Rocket maker Astra and satellite broadband-focused AST & Science have each started trading with Rocket Lab, Spire Global, BlackSky, Redwire and Momentus are expected to follow in the coming months.
The company’s ÑuSat satellites weigh just 42 kilograms (or 93 pounds) each at launch and are about the size of a kitchen dishwasher. Satellogic signed a multiple launch agreement with SpaceX earlier this year to launch the rest of the 300 satellites in its constellation “Aleph” – named in reference to a short story from Argentine writer Jorge Luis Borges “about an object that lets you see everything that’s going on in the world, ”Kargieman said.
Satellogic is vertically integrated, which, according to Kargieman, is a “great differentiation that allows us to achieve a unit economy 60 to 100 times that of any other player in the small satellite market.”
Today’s ÑuSats capture images at 70 centimeters per pixel and can cover 300,000 square kilometers of Earth in one day. Combined with a cost of $ 450,000 per satellite, Kargieman says his company has a unit economy that “no one” else in the terrestrial imagery market can match.
“You don’t really have to focus on unit economics for the defense market because they’re willing to pay a different price for data,” Kargieman said. “If you really want to deliver to mainstream applications, as we plan to do, then you have to be able to deliver it at zero marginal cost. “
The Earth imagery market is dominated by demand from defense and intelligence agencies, but is expanding into applications for the energy, insurance, agriculture and forestry sectors. A report by space research firm Euroconsult estimates that satellite imagery has a total addressable market of $ 140 billion.
“We think it’s a winner takes the most or the winner takes the whole market,” Kargieman said. “It’s a market with limited supply – governments just can’t get enough data today; there are not enough satellites there. “
Satellogic aims to be able to map the entire planet every week by 2023 and every day by 2025, to tap “over $ 40 billion” in market opportunities.
“We’ll also have the ability to revisit the points of interest roughly every five minutes, so we can do things like give you a two-minute video of any event happening around the world,” Kargieman said.
Satellogic’s investor deck highlighted an example of a use case with pipeline monitoring, as Kargieman said the company ran a pilot program with a major oil and gas company 18 months ago. The company had to monitor about 1,800 miles of pipeline every two weeks, which cost about $ 750 per mile to check with the planes. Satellogic “has demonstrated similar detection capabilities at costs of less than” $ 60 per mile, the company said.
While Satellogic’s presence in the world allows it to work with US allies and the company has a local Satellogic North America subsidiary to work with the US government, it is also betting on China through its Beijing office.
“We think the Chinese market for commercial applications will be very interesting and it is an emerging market for observation… it is developing practically from scratch because Chinese companies have not been allowed to develop so far. a technology to deliver data to the commercial market, ”Kargieman said. .
The CEO declined to comment on concerns about the government ownership structure of many Chinese companies, saying instead that Satellogic is focusing on private players.
“In China, we sell to commercial players in the market – information about what’s going on inside China for consumption inside China – so we don’t see any problem,” Kargieman said. .
Satellogic reported $ 0 revenue last year, but expects that to reach nearly $ 7 million in 2021 due to new contracts that started generating revenue in April.
“Until last year, we were testing more technologies in orbit, improving the technology and validating the business model,” Kargieman said.
The company so far has an order backlog of approximately $ 38 million of signed contracts and expects a “short-term pipeline” of $ 800 million of opportunities over the next two years, according to a slideshow by investors. But Satellogic will need to generate more than $ 100 million in annual revenue to meet its profitability target by 2023. The company then expects capital spending to remain relatively low as revenues soar, aiming for to generate $ 255 million in free cash flow once it has its Aleph constellation fully in orbit.
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