Technology

Armed with $19.5M, LiveEO plots a big data course between satellite geospatial information and industry – TechCrunch

When it comes to geospatial and mapping data and how organizations use it, satellites continue to play a crucial role in obtaining raw data. But getting that raw data into a state that can be used by businesses is another story. Today, a Berlin-based startup called LiveEO, which has built a satellite analytics platform to do just that, has raised €19 million ($19.5 million) on the back of strong demand for its technology from companies working in transportation and energy infrastructure are active.

The rise of companies like LiveEO stems from a period of rapid commercialization of infrastructure destined for use in space, as embodied by companies like SpaceX but also others, such as building a new wave of satellites themselves. As with the larger enterprise IT opportunity, big data players like LiveEO are essentially the second wave of this evolution: applications built using this infrastructure.

Photo credit: LiveEO (opens in a new window) under a CC BY 2.0 (opens in a new window) license.

“Someone has to develop applications for end users to make it really easy to consume and integrate this data into processes,” explains Daniel Seidel (left), who co-founded and ran LiveEO with Sven Przywarra (right). “That’s what we’re doing on a large scale.”

MMC Ventures is leading the investment, a Series B, and in addition to €17 million in venture capital, the round also includes support from two public bodies, the European Commission and the Investment Bank Berlin. Previous supporters Dieter von Holtzbrinck Ventures (DvH Ventures), Helen Ventures, Matterwave and motu ventures as well as new supporters Segenia Capital and Hannover Digital Investments (HDInv) are also involved. LiveEO had previously raised €5.25 million for Series A in 2021 and said during that time it has tripled sales to customers across five continents and more than doubled its workforce to about 100, with more than half of those engineers and are data scientists.

As a German startup, LiveEO is one of a small but growing group of startups in Europe that is benefiting from increasing investor interest in space travel in recent years, despite increasing pressure on tech funding. In relative terms, however, the sums are still modest compared to other tech areas: According to LiveEO, this 19 million euro round is one of the largest in the field of earth observation technology in Europe. LiveEO focuses on business, particularly industrial applications for its analytics – although given the geopolitical landscape and how this brings in a new multitude of interested parties playing the role of financiers to fuel its growth, it will be interesting to see how that develops.

LiveEO’s platform bridges a specific gap between space technology and enterprise data. Together, satellites are producing more data about our world than ever before, covering not only physical objects in minute detail, but also thermal advances, how systems move, and more.

Ironically, much of this data is very closed when it comes to companies using it: Given the fragmentation in the satellite industry itself, not only is the data often in very raw formats, but it also comes from multiple sources to put it into forms that integrate with existing IT systems, and particularly (and even trickier) the IT systems that integrate with the infrastructure that is the building block of many industrial deployments – let alone analyze them for insights – all big ones Tasks, so much so that the opportunities to do them often go unrealized.

The core of the company’s platform brings all of this together in what LiveEO describes as an “infrastructure monitoring suite powered by satellite imagery.” To do this, the earth observation data generated by satellites will be applied to AI to analyze it in the context of what LiveEO’s industrial customers – including large railway companies such as Deutsche Bahn or energy company e.on – want to better understand.

This could include data on risks from vegetation on railways or other routes; soil deformation; or other physical movement or activity; and it also includes the ability for a LiveEO user to integrate this data directly to connect to its own IT management systems for its infrastructure, such as those that monitor systems to ensure they are functioning properly. It also presents its solution as more environmentally friendly: using satellites to acquire the kind of geographic data these industrial applications require means there is no need to deploy teams and vehicles on-site to acquire it by other means.

“One of the great advantages of satellite data is that we don’t have to install any hardware in the infrastructure itself,” Przywarra said.

They believe that data is also more complete: As Seidel describes it, combining terabytes of data from multiple sources means it’s not just 3D, but “4D” — with thermal and other details available, “is like the difference.” between using an image from a smartphone and a high-end, high-resolution camera.”

All of this is also a relatively new field, Przywarra added. “Before Google Earth, satellite maps were only used by experts,” he said. “We enable more non-professionals to use satellite data. We make it accessible and usable.”

The lead investor MMC is one of the most prominent deep tech investors in Europe and it is notable that they are focusing on this area as an opportunity.

“We are excited to chair this round for LiveEO, and it reflects MMC’s continued focus on emerging datasets and companies developing AI analytics to drive core business decisions,” said Andrei Dvornic, a director at MMC Ventures, in a Explanation. “LiveEO provides a crucial tool that paves the way for sustainable industrial automation and we fully support the company’s vision to use satellite technologies, big data and the latest developments in artificial intelligence to help companies adapt to the challenges of climate change.”

https://techcrunch.com/2022/08/04/armed-with-19-5m-liveeo-plots-a-big-data-course-between-satellite-geospatial-information-and-industry/ Armed with $19.5M, LiveEO plots a big data course between satellite geospatial information and industry – TechCrunch

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