Space debris tracker LeoLabs raises $65 million as satellites launch to orbit at unprecedented rate

Source: CNBC


LeoLabs, a private venture that tracks objects and debris in low Earth orbit through a network of radars around the world, raised $65 million in capital in a new fundraising round, the company announced on Tuesday.

“It’s a great endorsement of our success to date and where we’re headed,” LeoLabs CEO Dan Ceperley told CNBC. “We’re the largest data provider for [low Earth orbit] in the world now … we’ve stepped beyond anybody in the public or private [sectors].”

LeoLabs raised the new capital from Insight Partners and prior investor Velvet Sea Ventures. Including this round, the company has raised more than $100 million in total since its founding five years ago, with existing investors including Airbus Ventures, WERU Investment, Space Capital and Horizons Ventures.

Ceperley declined to comment on LeoLabs’ valuation after this round, but the company added Insight Partners senior advisor Nick Sinai to its board of directors. The LeoLabs board now stands at four, with chairman Manish Kothari, director Kiichiro DeLuca and director Peter Jackson.

LeoLabs will use the fresh funds to scale its business in three major ways, with Ceperley expecting the company’s headcount to grow from above 40 to more than 60, increase the rate at which it builds radar locations, and roll out new Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) products.

So far LeoLabs has built space radars on the ground in Texas, Alaska, New Zealand and Costa Rica.

The number of satellites and spacecraft launched per year has “shifted into high gear,” Ceperley said, as evidenced by the past few years of growth. According to a report by industry firm Bryce Tech, the number of spacecraft launched to orbit in 2020 jumped to 1,085 — doubling last year’s total and multiple times that of the average annual total. A significant driver of that increase has been launches by SpaceX of its Starlink satellite internet network, with more than 1,700 satellites launched to date.

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