Scottish aerial imaging start-up secures funding deal

A view across the Clyde and Glasgow. Picture: Allan Milligan
A view across the Clyde and Glasgow. Picture: Allan Milligan
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A satellite and aerial imaging start-up has landed a six-figure grant funding deal that should lead to the creation of 14 jobs.

Glasgow-based Bird.i, which was founded in 2016 by its chief executive Corentin Guillo, a French entrepreneur with a background in Earth observation satellite development, has secured £210,000 of regional selective assistance (RSA) funding from Scottish Enterprise.

In addition to creating 14 “high value” jobs, the support will allow the venture to scale up its operations, enhancing its product offering by providing intelligence on the images it takes. The company hopes that this expansion will help it enter new sectors such as energy and engineering.

Guillo said: “The establishment of Bird.i in Scotland following the completion of a first investment round was a bold decision which has been motivated by the access to local talents and the support from the Scottish Government.

“This RSA funding will help to establish further Bird.i’s presence in the Scottish ecosystem and become an employer of choice.”

The company collates the best satellite, airborne and drone imagery on a daily basis. It then applies proprietary artificial intelligence and computer vision techniques such as unsupervised learning or “similarity search” to its imagery and data.

Current case studies in the construction and infrastructure industries include detecting new construction sites or tracking the location and progress of ongoing building projects over a specific period of time.

Rhona Allison, interim managing director for company growth and innovation at Scottish Enterprise, said: “This expansion represents an exciting step forward in the evolution of Bird.i.

“Scottish Enterprise is delighted to have supported the company at each stage of its development from initial strategy and management planning though the High Growth Ventures team, to equity investment and ongoing account management support.

“We look forward to working with Bird.i as it continues to work towards achieving its ambitious growth plans.”

The funding was announced by the Minister for Business, Innovation and Energy, Paul Wheelhouse, on a visit to the firm’s Glasgow base.

He said: “SMEs are the lifeblood of Scotland’s economy and businesses like Bird-i are helping to develop the digital skills talent we have here.”