Kuva Space appoints Jerry Welsh to spearhead US expansion

Finnish hyperspectral satellite and AI-powered insights company Kuva Space has announced its expansion to the United States, establishing Kuva Space US in Fairfax, Virginia.

Jerry Welsh, the former CEO of ICEYE US, joins Kuva Space as a board member and will lead the company’s expansion efforts to become a leading provider of hyperspectral insights to the US Government.

Through its newly established US subsidiary, Kuva Space is poised to extend its market presence, catering to both the US Government and commercial entities. The Global Geospatial Analytics Market, which was valued at $85 billion in 2023, identifies the United States as its largest segment. Hyperspectral solutions play a pivotal role within this market, offering a rich tapestry of information by integrating hundreds of spectral data bands with spatial information.

“One of the reasons I’m excited to work with Kuva Space is its plans to offer new spaceborne hyperspectral capabilities that nobody in the commercial space industry is currently providing,” says Jerry Welsh, Board Member of Kuva Space US. “Over the next year, we will be expanding in the US to provide cutting-edge, robust, and reliable services and meet security and regulatory requirements to become a trusted partner to the US Government.”

Kuva Space's microsatellites are outfitted with an innovative hyperspectral camera that stands out in the industry for its ability to detect and monitor the condition of any material on Earth through its unique spectral signature. This patented technology allows the sensor to be adjusted while in orbit to suit specific needs across a diverse array of applications, including defence and safety, food security, agriculture, and environmental sectors. Moreover, the camera's patented 2D snapshot imager technology enhances the signal-to-noise ratio, delivering superior image quality for actionable intelligence.

The company's cutting-edge, AI-driven analytics platform swiftly processes the exclusive hyperspectral data, integrating additional third-party data when necessary, to produce analytics insights within 15 minutes. This rapid turnaround facilitates a cost-effective means for customers to monitor, identify, and predict changes and their implications almost in real-time. Distinguishing itself from opaque AI models, Kuva Space’s AI platform elucidates the rationale behind its predictions, offering customised data acquisition tailored to specific processing requirements.

“I believe we will see increased combination and fusion of different data sets along with analytics to meet USG needs, and Kuva Space is poised to accelerate this innovation,” Welsh continues.

As part of the next satellite generation, the company plans to integrate edge computing capability, Sat-to-Sat and Sat-to-IoT mobile to improve in-orbit processing and reduce delivery times of analytic insights to first responders.

Kuva Space is on a mission to build the world's most extensive hyperspectral satellite constellation and automatic AI-powered insights-as-a-service model. With three successful satellite missions, Kuva Space will launch two hyperspectral satellites and its initial services in 2024. The first one, Hyperfield-1, is scheduled to launch in June 2024. This will mark the initial stage of Kuva Space’s planned constellation, which aims to provide gapless monitoring by deploying up to 100 satellites by 2030.

“On the back of our successful funding round last year, we’re extremely excited to take the next step and ramp up our US operations and bring Jerry on board. The US is a mature Earth observation market with established government and commercial collaboration models. On the other hand, we are building capabilities for the US market that are not currently offered. Our expansion to the US is a crucial step to build stronger partnerships and commercialise our cutting-edge defence and safety and commercial civil services,” says Jarkko Antila, CEO of Kuva Space.

With local representation in Finland, the United States, Japan, Belgium, and the UK, Kuva Space has raised $24 million in total funding from Morrow Portfolio, Voima Ventures, Nordic Foodtech VC, Earth VC, VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, and public funding from ESA Philab and Business Finland. 

In 2023, Kuva Space was awarded a $5.4 million commercial contract to be the sole provider of hyperspectral data services for the EU Copernicus programme, and the company won the NATO Innovation Challenge for its AI-driven analytics for enhanced Arctic monitoring capabilities.