Space Intelligence has secured initial funding from Equinor Ventures. Graeme Faulds, described as a “highly experienced” private equity investor, joins the company’s joins the board as chairman. Faulds was formerly of Nasdaq and the founder of software company TopQ. Meanwhile, Fatima Hadj, head of the Climate Investment Centre at HSBC, joins the capital firm as a non-executive director.
The company, which employs more than 30 people and is based on the city’s George Street, plans to use the investment to accelerate the expansion of its technologies in artificial intelligence (AI) and satellite data to support the digital monitoring and reporting on nature-based solutions for climate change.
Chief executive Murray Collins said: “It is an enormous coup for Space Intelligence to have secured investment from high-profile VCs [venture capitalists], and to have two such well-respected finance and climate experts join us. The work we do at Space Intelligence combines the power of satellite data and sophisticated algorithms to assess the impact of forest conservation projects from local to national level, worldwide.
“The demand for this insight has been growing so fast that our team has seen a 10x growth in just three years. As chair, Graeme is going to be an enormous support as we grow, while the expertise and networks of Fatima and Equinor Ventures will be instrumental in helping us further develop our products and services.”
Equinor Ventures is Equinor’s corporate venture capital arm dedicated to investing in ambitious early-phase and growth companies. Lars Klevjer, acting head of Equinor Ventures, said: “The world needs solutions like Space Intelligence to ensure reliable and verifiable data in carbon markets, and we look forward to working together to develop the company.”
Space Intelligence co-founder and chief scientist, professor Ed Mitchard, said 2022 would be marked as a year with one of the highest rates of tropical deforestation ever.
“We’re a key part of the drive to halt and reverse that catastrophe,” he said. ”Our specialism is in supporting nature conservation and forest restoration across the world. Murray and I have worked in the field of forest change mapping for the past 15 years each, measuring tens of thousands of trees and writing over a hundred scientific papers in the process. We’re one of the few companies combining state-of-the-art data analytics with expert knowledge of ecology in the field.
“We are proud to be using this heritage not just to support carbon offsetting projects, but also to enable sustainability-linked finance products. The space sector is a key UK government priority so we’re thrilled to announce this investment and our international expansion. We’re continuing to recruit for data science, software development, and high-level positions, and look forward to opening offices across the world,” he added.
Equinor Ventures provides venture capital and project-based funding of early-phase ideas. The current portfolio is primarily in Europe and North America, but the funding provider is said to be “open to opportunities globally”.