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Google invests in hyperspectral satellite imaging startup

Google is among the latest set of firms to invest in Pixxel, an Indian startup developing hyperspectral earth-imaging technology.

The startup recently announced a successful $36 million Series B funding round that the tech giant participated in, which follows the first set of images taken by its satellites being released.

The new funds will help Pixxel build and deploy what it says will be the world’s first and highest-resolution hyperspectral satellite constellation, which will be used to deliver actionable climate insights on a planetary scale. The constellation will comprise 24 satellites, with six set to be launched in 2024 and 18 set to be launched by the end of 2025.

The new investment will also help Pixxel further develop Aurora, its AI-powered analytics platform that will make hyperspectral analysis more accessible for everyone.

Capturing images at hundreds of wavelengths, the hyperspectral imaging technology aboard Pixxel’s satellites will be used to reveal key data about the health of the planet. According to the firm, the constellation will provide up to 10x more information compared to today’s multispectral satellites in space, while increasing the spectral resolution available by 50x.

“With this round of funding, we are even closer now to realising our mission of building a health monitor for the planet, and empowering people around the world to make informed decisions about our collective well-being," said Awais Ahmed, co-founder and CEO of Pixxel. "We're incredibly grateful to our world-class investors for their unwavering support and belief in our vision and are excited to work together to create a meaningful positive impact on the future of our planet.”

The capabilities delivered by the new constellation will help organisations comply with national and global sustainability standards – crucial as the need for better ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) data monitoring and measurement becomes critical.

The past year has seen Pixxel launch three pathfinder missions while growing its customer base five-fold. The firm recently announced a five-year contract with the NRO Commercial Systems Program Office (CSPO) for the Strategic Commercial Enhancements for Commercial Hyperspectral Capabilities programme.

The latest round of investment brings Pixxel’s total venture funding to $71 million, with Google joining existing backers including Lightspeed, Radical Ventures, Accenture Ventures, Relativity’s Jordan Noone, Seraphim Capital, Ryan Johnson, Blume Ventures, Sparta LLC, Growx Ventures, Athera Venture Partners and Omnivore VC, among others.


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