Orbital Insight closes $50M Series C led by Sequoia

This morning, Orbital Insight, a geospatial analytics startup, announced it had completed raising a $50 million Series C round of financing from Sequoia. The fresh capital brings the company’s total fundraising to $78.7 million.

Orbital Insight generates analytics for businesses using satellite imagery and other data. A product of deep learning and more readily available satellite imagery, the geospatial analytics space as a whole has drawn a lot of attention for the role it has played in the hedge fund industry.

With images of retailer parking lots, companies like Orbital Insight have proven their ability to extrapolate accurate revenue predictions for businesses by counting cars as a proxy in advance of official earnings reports. But as data and technology commoditize, startups have been racing to service new markets and simplify their offerings to avoid becoming clunky consultancies.

“Neural networks are very generalizable,” said Bill Coughran, a partner at Sequoia Capital. “Some adaptation is needed depending on the use case, but it’s the same basic underlying tech.”

With the news of today’s Series C, Orbital Insight has grown to become one of the most capitalized startups in the geospatial analytics space. Some of its competitors, Descartes Labs and Spaceknow, have raised $8.28 million and $5.2 million, respectively.

“The company is seeing strong uptake commercially and with the government,” added Coughran. “We felt this was a good time to hire for engineering and sales.”

New investors Envision Ventures, Balyasny Asset Management, Geodesic Capital, ITOCHU Corporation and Intellectus Partners joined Sequoia in today’s round. And, of course, earlier investors GV, Lux Capital and CME Ventures maintained their involvement with participation.

The diverse collection of investors hints heavily at ambitions of international expansion. Geodesic Capital is regularly involved in helping startups access Asian markets and ITOCHU itself is a Japanese firm.