Broadband/Connectivity News Satellite

Microsatellite startup Astranis raises $90m to power internet connectivity

As part of the most recent financing round, Ethan Batraski and Dan Berkenstock, founding CEO of Skybox, have joined the Astranis Board of Directors.

Astranis, a startup working on next generation of telecommunication satellites, has announced a $90m financing round to launch its first commercial satellite and build the foundation for the internet infrastructure of the future. The round was led by Venrock, with significant participation from existing investor Andreessen Horowitz.

With the new funding, Astranis aims to bring the next four billion people online with low-cost, reliable internet. The Series B round includes $40m of equity financing led by Venrock with continued investment from Andreessen Horowitz and participation from existing investors Fifty Years, Refactor Capital and Y Combinator, among other funds and angel investors.

The recent fundraising also includes a debt facility of up to $50m from TriplePoint Capital, which Astranis will use to support current and future projects. The company is in talks to kick off new projects around the world in 2020 and 2021 by partnering with internet service providers (ISPs), established satellite operators, governments, and many others. Astranis has raised more than $108m in financing to date.

Astranis is building a micro-geostationary orbit (GEO) satellite that is 20 times smaller in size than that of its predecessors – just 350 kg – compared to traditional satellites that are upwards of 6,500 kg. The satellites are small enough to be manufactured and launched in months instead of years, all with more bandwidth than was previously possible with the same form size.

Astranis’s team includes leaders and engineers from premier satellite and space programs, including SpaceX, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Skybox, Planet Labs, and NASA, in addition to top talent from Qualcomm, Apple and Google.

Commenting on the funding, John Gedmark, CEO and co-founder of Astranis, said: “We know that increasing internet access can change lives for the better, especially for people living in developing countries and the world’s most remote locations. By connecting those who need connectivity the most, we’re encouraging health, learning, and entrepreneurship across the world.”

Ethan Batraski, a partner at Venrock, added: “Global connectivity is an industry prime for disruption. Astranis’s team and microsatellite technology put them in a strong position to fulfil the needs of the new market, which is vastly different than the market of 20 or 30 years ago.”