Edmonton-based hyperspectral satellite imaging startup Wyvern has raised $9.45 million CAD ( $7 million USD) in a “seed-plus” round.
The funding was led by Uncork Capital with participation from MaC Venture Capital and Y Combinator. After graduating Y Combinator in the Winter 2022 cohort, Wyvern was able to close its round in April.
The $7 million USD is all equity financing, bringing Wyvern’s total funding to $15 million USD between a pre-seed round and an investment from the federal government’s Sustainable Development Technology Canada a month later. Wyvern will use the additional funding to send its first three satellites into space.
The company’s inaugural satellite program, called FirstLight, will launch in early 2023. According to Wyvern, the new funding will both help accelerate the timeline for deployment and improve the customer experience in industries such as defence, agriculture, mining, forestry, energy and emissions.
Wyvern’s technical team, which doubled in size since the last funding announcement, is also coming closer to developing shortwave infrared wavelengths and data channels for the next generations of satellites, according to Callie Lissinna, company co-founder and COO.
Wyvern’s proprietary technology is unfolding cameras that are compact on launch and deploy in space, much like the James Webb Space Telescope. The company claims this design will lower costs for customers compared to traditional telescopes. However, Lissinna confirmed FirstLaunch will not possess this technology.
“The goal of these first satellites is to get to space as quickly as possible, get hyperspectral data to paying customers, and to shake down the entire data delivery and customer success process,” Lissinna told Betakit. “Deployable optics, unfolding satellites in space, is not an easy thing to engineer,” she said.
While the team continues to take strides in developing its technology, the important thing was to get to space first. In the meantime, the first Wyvern satellites are designed by satellite spacecraft provider AAC Clyde.
The launch comes in the midst of a growing reliance on satellite imagery to support industry. A Canada’s Space Strategy report published in 2019 suggests one-in-four farmers using satellite imagery to support farming practices it could save Canadian farmers up to $1.3 billion CAD.
“Demand will soon begin to outstrip supply and early adopters will be glad to have secured their seats,” said Wyvern CEO Chris Robson.
Feature image courtesy Wyvern.