Geospatial intelligence startup Ursa raises $5.7 million to expand global monitoring capabilities
Did you know that the first satellite imagery was made available to the public when NASA first launched its first Landsat mission in 1972? Forty six years later, we’ve found countless ways to use satellite imagery and geospatial intelligence technology in government, commerce, academic and and humanitarian missions. Today, with advancement in technology, geospatial data companies are more agile and faster at acquiring and delivering satellite imagery to their customers. Ursa Space Systems (Ursa) is a Space 3.0 analytics-as-a-service company that provides geospatial intelligence solutions and brings transparency to global markets to help traders and analysts in the finance and energy industries make more informed decisions.
Today, the company announced it has raised $5.7 million in new venture funding to develop new products in response to strong customer demand, as well as expand current offerings to serve new customers and markets. The investment was led by RRE Ventures and including participation from S&P Global (NYSE: SPGI) and Paladin Capital Group. Founded in 2014, Ursa pioneered transparency of oil data in China and has since expanded its global reach beyond oil storage and to more than 150 sites worldwide. Ursa’s geospatial intelligence portfolio sets new standards for accuracy and reliability and empowers customers with critical insights.
Ursa released the world’s first comprehensive weekly China oil inventory report in May, added the Caribbean and MENA regions in September and plans to have global coverage in early 2018. Ursa uses space-based data from radar satellites as the source of their timely reports. Radar works through clouds and at night, allowing collection of information about activities on the Earth rain or shine. Based in Ithaca, NY, Ursa was founded in 2014 by leaders in the satellite and software security fields with the vision to unlock the potential of data and insights derived from radar satellite imaging.
Ursa aggregates and analyzes data from the industry’s largest network of radar satellites to provide customers with alternative sources of market intelligence. Ursa’s flagship commercial product, Global Oil Storage Monitoring, is a weekly service measuring crude oil storage of more than 340 oil terminals worldwide with 3.6 billion barrels of capacity. Leading global operators in the energy and finance sectors rely on Ursa’s comprehensive and timely analytics to gain decision advantage, changing the way they conduct business. Following on this product’s success, Ursa is extending its focus across the oil supply chain and expanding the company’s custom monitoring services across various sectors.
The funding follows the global expansion of Ursa’s oil storage product and the launch of a new commercial partnership with S&P Global Platts, a division of S&P Global. S&P Global Platts is an independent provider of information, benchmark prices, and analytics for the energy and commodities markets. They are incorporating Ursa’s oil storage monitoring into S&P Global Platts Analytics products and services, and working with Ursa to develop new offerings for the commodity and energy markets.
“Ursa is making great progress across multiple aspects of their business,” said Will Porteous, general partner at RRE Ventures and new Ursa board member. “They’re seeing early success with enterprise customers like S&P Global Platts, and users are already requesting new applications of the product for their business. There are many potential high-value applications for the technology. In addition, they have attracted really impressive talent. We see a very strong team with a great value proposition and a huge opportunity in front of them.”
“We are thrilled to increase our investment in Ursa,” said Ewout Steenbergen, Executive Vice President and CFO of S&P Global. “We think very highly of the Ursa team and see opportunities to collaborate not just with S&P Global Platts but across all our businesses.”
“Ursa is equipping our customers with the most comprehensive, reliable, and timely source of geospatial intelligence possible to inform their business decisions and provide them with meaningful competitive advantage,” said Adam Maher, Ursa’s co-founder and CEO. “The opportunity to partner with proven investors like RRE, Paladin, and S&P Global has really helped focus our approach and accelerate our success. The new funding will enable us to execute our business plan more quickly and capitalize on the broader market opportunity for our capabilities.”