Simera Sense Raises €13.5m for Earth Observation Imaging Tech

Simera Sense, a prominent provider of optical solutions for the Earth observation sector within the small satellite industry, has secured €13.5 million in its initial round of growth financing.

Since its establishment in 2018, the company has quickly expanded, offering a wide range of high-resolution cameras 'off-the-shelf' to clients worldwide in the small satellite market. Simera is a key player in the Earth observation data and services market, anticipated to grow from $12.55 billion in 2024 to $20.73 billion by 2029.

The investment, contributed by NewSpace Capital and Knife Capital, will enable Simera Sense to meet increasing customer demand and enhance its production capabilities. Plans include opening additional production facilities in Europe to boost production and customer support. Furthermore, the investment will allow for the expansion of Simera's product development teams, accelerating the creation of new products with higher resolution and Short-Wave Infrared (SWIR) capabilities.

A significant focus for Simera Sense is to revolutionise the industry by integrating on-board data processing within the camera control electronics, a novel approach aimed at overcoming the limitations associated with ground-based data processing. This innovation, currently in development, is set to address bandwidth and communication challenges, marking a pioneering advancement in the satellite camera market.

Johann Du Toit, CEO at Simera Sense, thanked the company’s investors for their support.

“We’re very pleased with the amount raised and grateful to NewSpace Capital and Knife Capital for choosing to back us. We are looking forward to our journey together,” he said.

“We’ll be looking immediately to increase our production capacity so we can meet client demand and bring delivery time down further, while taking the development of our on-board data processing solutions to the next stage.

“Satellite imagery has a central role to play in helping us solve problems here on Earth, and the dynamism and growth of the Earth observation and wider space market reflect that.

“It’s a very exciting time for the company.”

Bogdan Gogulan, Managing Partner of NewSpace Capital, said: “We spent a long time looking at the market for a company with not just the ambition but the expertise to revolutionise Earth observation, and Simera Sense stood out from the crowd.

“We’ve been following the company for a number of years. The team has a very rare combination of technical excellence, business acumen, resilience and humility that attracts customers and partners. We believe this team will achieve a lot, including mastering on-board data processing, which would be transformational for the market.

“There are also interesting synergies with some other companies in our portfolio.

“We are delighted that Simera has chosen NewSpace Capital to lead this round. We appreciate the trust of our co-investors, Knife Capital. We look forward to working together to begin the next chapter in the development of the commercial space.”

Keet van Zyl, Co-Founder and Partner at Knife Capital, added: “We are delighted to back the unique combination of a deep technology product suite, a market demand for Simera Sense products and an entrepreneurial team that has a track record of proven execution capabilities in this space.

“It has already been a fulfilling journey even during due diligence and closing out the transaction with credible investment partners. Knife Capital is proud to be part of transforming the optical payload solutions industry.

Simera Sense, which was launched in South Africa and is headquartered in Leuven, Belgium, counts AAC Clyde Space, Open Cosmos, Nara Space, OHB Systems AG, and many others among its valued clients.

The company collaborates with various European institutions and participates in partnership with other companies in response to ‘New Space’ prospects.

In 2020, in partnership with Open Cosmos, it was selected to be part of the Phi-Sat-2 mission, supported by ESA, providing solutions for an AI-enabled Earth Observation Cubesat.