Albedo collects $35M for very low Earth satellite development

An artist's rendering of Albedo's satellite imagery.

An artist's rendering of Albedo's satellite imagery. Courtesy of Albedo.

This Series A-1 funding round also marks the foray of Booz Allen Hamilton's corporate venture capital arm into the space startup ecosystem.

Albedo, a four-year-old satellite imagery startup, has raised $35 million in capital from investors to support the further development and future deployment of its very low Earth orbit constellation.

This Series A-1 funding round was led by Standard Investments and brought Albedo's total amount fetched so far to $97 million, Albedo said Wednesday. The Series A round closed in the fall of 2022 with $48 million fetched.

One of Albedo's most notable new investors stands out in the context of the federal market. Booz Allen Hamilton's corporate venture capital arm is touting its backing of Albedo as its first space-specific investment since the organization first unveiled itself to the government market in mid-2022.

Cubit Capital and Bill Perkins are the two other new investors that participated in this Series A-1 round. Existing investors that participated in the new round include Breakthrough Energy Ventures, Shield Capital, Initialized Capital, Y Combinator, Giant Step Capital, Republic Capital and other undisclosed participants.

Very low Earth orbit refers to a position roughly halfway between our planet's surface and low Earth orbit, which Albedo is touting as largely underutilized by commercial markets.

Albedo is at work in developing its lineup of satellites to capture images of the Earth at resolutions of 10-centimeter optical and 2-meter thermal infrared, figures that can only be attained today by planes or unmanned aerial vehicles.

The company is targeting 2025 for the launch of its first satellite with the goal of having the full constellation of six birds in-orbit by 2027.

 “As geopolitical tensions rise and we approach an irreversible climate change tipping point, the need for innovative dual-use technologies is crucial in sustaining a safe global environment," Albedo's chief executive Topher Haddad said in a release.

For the Booz Allen Ventures team, they are looking to further help advance the ability of U.S. government clients to collect data from space.

“We invested in Albedo because of their approach: successfully combining high-resolution imaging typical of aerial, unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), and balloon platforms with the scalable, persistent, global coverage of satellites," said Travis Bales, a managing director at Booz Allen Ventures. "This unlocks vast applications across multiple sectors, including defense and intelligence, climate, infrastructure, agriculture, energy, and urban planning."

Booz Allen Ventures launched its $100 million fund in 2022 and the list of investments made since then includes Latent AI, Synthetaic, Reveal Technology, Credo AI, Hidden Level, Shift5, Hidden Layer and most recently Second Front.

The Booz Allen Ventures philosophy is to back early stage companies whose technologies are of potential dual-use and cover one or more of these four core areas: defense, artificial intelligence/machine learning, cybersecurity, and emerging/deep technology

Standard Investments is a venture capital organization that resides within its parent company Standard Industries, which owns a portfolio of companies in the building materials and real estate sectors.

The Standard Investments arm backs early-to-growth stage companies they see as being at the forefront of technology and business model innovation with a particular focus on sustainability.

“Standard invests in disruptive industrial technologies, and the new orbit frontier of VLEO will open up a wide variety of exciting opportunities around enhanced imagery and data collection, which is a key unmet challenge in modernizing industry and infrastructure,” added Ben Sampson, a managing director at Standard Investments.

In conjunction with the funding closure, Sampson will join the Albedo board of directors.

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