Weather satellite startup Spire raises US$40m for Asia expansion

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Weather satellite startup Spire has raised US$40m in venture funding as part of a planned expansion in to the Asia-Pacific region.

The San Francisco-based company currently has a constellation of more than 100 small satellites, sometimes known as CubeSats, orbiting Earth. The satellites track maritime and aviation activity as well as weather data. 

The availability of this kind of data is “significantly more scarce” in Asia, Spire CEO and co-founder Peter Platzer told Forbes. “This will allow us to start penetrating more of that market,” he added. 

Spires’ satellites track weather using GPS radio waves beamed down to Earth by other satellites. As the radio waves enter Earth’s atmosphere, climatic conditions such as temperature and humidity cause them to diffract. By measuring the rate of diffraction of these waves, Spire’s satellites can determine the climatic conditions in the atmosphere, using that data to make weather forecasts.

According to Forbes, this latest funding round brings the company’s total venture financing to about US$190m. The funding was led by the GPO Fund, Perennial Management and Bessemer Ventures. A portion of it also came from the Japanese corporations Itochu and Mitsui. 

The funding will be used to boost Spire’s marketing and sales operations in the Asia-Pacific region. It will also be used to build weather analytics products specific to the region.

“There are specific extreme weather events that are more prevalent in the Asia-Pacific region,” said Platzer. “And with this funding and these partners, we’re able to focus more on delivering products and solutions for those events.”

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