U.S. microsatellite startup Astranis Space Technologies announced a US$90 million financing round to launch its first commercial satellite and build the foundation for the internet infrastructure of the future. The round was led by Venrock, with significant participation from existing investor Andreessen Horowitz.
Astranis aims to solve a problem in the modern space race that hasn’t been cracked: bringing the next four billion people online with low-cost, reliable internet. The US$120 billion market is growing quickly and Astranis plans to offer practical, cost-effective solution for bringing internet access to remote parts of the world.
“Global connectivity is an industry prime for disruption,” said Ethan Batraski, partner at Venrock. “Astranis’s team and microsatellite technology put them in a strong position to fulfill the needs of the new market, which is vastly different than the market of 20 or 30 years ago.”
Astranis is building a first-of-its-kind micro-geostationary orbit (GEO) satellite that is 20 times smaller in size than that of its predecessors–just 350 kg–compared to traditional satellites that are upwards of 6,500 kg. Its secret sauce is a flexible, ultra-wideband software-defined radio technology, which allows Astranis to replace heavy and bulky analog radio hardware with lightweight, compact, digital alternatives. The satellites are small enough to be manufactured and launched in months instead of years, all with more bandwidth than was previously possible with the same form size.
“We know that increasing internet access can change lives for the better, especially for people living in developing countries and the world’s most remote locations,” said John Gedmark, CEO and co-founder of Astranis. “By connecting those who need connectivity the most, we’re encouraging health, learning, and entrepreneurship across the world.”
The Series B round, announced on 13 February 2020, includes US$40 million of equity financing led by Venrock with continued investment from Andreessen Horowitz and participation from existing investors Fifty Years, Refactor Capital, and Y Combinator, among other funds and angel investors. The recent fundraising also includes a debt facility of up to US$50 million from TriplePoint Capital, which Astranis will use to support current and future projects. The company is in talks to kick off new projects around the world in 2020 and 2021 by partnering with internet service providers (ISPs), established satellite operators, governments, and many others. Astranis has raised more than US$108 million in financing to date. As part of the most recent financing round, Ethan Batraski and Dan Berkenstock, founding CEO of Skybox, joined the Astranis Board of Directors.
Astranis was founded in 2015 by John Gedmark and Ryan McLinko.