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Our Investment in Ursa Space Systems

RRE Blog

Our Investment in Ursa Space Systems

Will Porteous

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RRE is excited to announce our lead investment in Ursa Space Systems Inc. (“Ursa”), a company that is using Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) satellites to produce alternative data sets for major industrial and energy operators, financial services, and governments.

We’ve known Adam Maher, the Founder and CEO of Ursa, for several years and made a seed investment in the company last Fall. The team is exceptionally talented technically and commercially, with decades of experience in the satellite industry and the intelligence community.

The Earth Observation (EO) market represents a $43B opportunity over the next decade with SAR-based revenues one of the fastest growing components. Cumulative global revenues from SAR imagery alone is estimated to be $6.2B by 2025. That being said, there is a lack of data infrastructure to interpret the new radar data stream, leading to the current oversupply of existing SAR capacity. And while much of the new space industry’s focus has been on commercializing optical satellites, with startups like Orbital Insights and Descartes Lab providing analytics, there is huge potential in the SAR market given these satellites can see through darkness, clouds, and other obstructions.

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With Ursa, the difficulty in obtaining and analyzing radar data is abstracted away for customers. Ursa has secured relationships with all SAR satellite operators, built the digital infrastructure needed to properly ingest radar data, and created highly-tuned, expert processing to automate reliable, consistent measurements. The firm is further able to derive useful insights for its customers by layering on contextual data and machine learning / computer vision analyses.

Ursa’s flagship commercial product, Global Oil Storage Monitoring, is a weekly report measuring crude oil storage of over 340 oil terminals worldwide with 3.6B barrels of capacity. Customers in finance and energy rely on these comprehensive and timely analytics to gain decision advantages, changing the way they conduct business. In response to this first product’s success, Ursa is extending its focus across the oil supply chain and expanding the company’s custom monitoring to other global commodities. Ursa can extract considerable value from the raw image data given the significant overlap in commodity locations, areas of interest, and customer interests.

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“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 some really impressive talent. We see a really strong team with a great value proposition and a huge opportunity in front of them that we are proud to help them achieve.”