Edmonton-based satellite technology startup Wyvern has secured a $4 million CAD investment from the federal government’s Sustainable Development Technology Canada.
Launched in 2018, Wyvern is developing unfolding camera technology to make high-resolution hyperspectral imagery from satellites accessible and affordable.
Hyperspectral imaging has the ability to detect details that are invisible to conventional imaging standards, and can be leveraged for agriculture, forestry, energy, defence, as well as environmental and emissions monitoring.
In January, Wyvern revealed that it raised a cumulative $4.5 million USD through its pre-seed and seed funding rounds, reeling in $2.25 million in each round. The space data startup said it took on a “minimal” amount of debt in both financings.
Armed with government financial support, twice the amount than its previous raises, Wyvern anticipates the launch of its DragonEye satellite. This would mark Wyvern’s first satellite equipped with technology that unfolds a telescope in space, similar to the James Webb telescope launched in December.
Wyvern’s new capital is tied to a three-year project that includes commitments from Xario Digital Farming Solutions (a BASF Digital Farming GmbH brand), Olds College, SkyWatch, Metaspectral, and Wild + Pine as consortium partners.
Alex Melnitchouck, chief technology officer for Digital Ag at Olds College, noted that the collaboration with Wyvern will bring opportunities to observe satellite technologies and how it will be integrated into the new wave of digital innovation in farming and sustainability in the agricultural sector.
Fewer than 10 percent of Canadian farms currently use satellite imagery to support operations.
Canada’s Space Strategy report released in 2019 indicates that increasing this number to 25 percent by 2027 could lead to cost savings to farmers between $650 million to $1.3 billion, while contributing to more sustainable farming practices.
“Wyvern’s technology is addressing a major gap in the market,” said Leah Lawrence, President and CEO of SDTC. “Their imaging products are going to help farmers use less fertilizer, pesticides, and water and help produce bigger yields.”