Sydney-based HEO Robotics, the world’s first commercially operating in-orbit inspection company, has raised a seed financing round to launch its HEO Inspect product. It hasn’t disclosed the value of the funding as yet.
HEO Robotics visually monitors satellites and space debris to help satellite operators to monitor their space assets, as well as governments with space situational awareness. The company does this using Earth observation satellites already in orbit, by transforming them with software into inspection cameras. HEO Robotics has access to 25 of these satellites in various orbits today.
This is the company’s seed round and is the first major investment in HEO Robotics. The company was already profitable, but the seed financing will allow the company to scale its services to help monitor the 40x increase in satellite numbers to be launched over the next 10 years.
The round was led by David Harding, the founder and CEO of Winton Group. David has invested in a series of cybersecurity and other deep-tech businesses. As part of the investment, David has nominated Joshua Kennedy-White to the company board, who has a wealth of experience investing in and advising technology companies.
Angel investors Tim Parsons, Matt Ryall, Christian Thaler-Wolski and Phil Hayes-St Clair also participated in the round, while existing HEO investors like Solai Valliappan doubled-down on their holdings.
“I am pleased to have had the opportunity to back Founders Will and Hiranya and HEO Robotics, which looks to have considerable potential in the burgeoning commercial space industry” said David Harding.
The funds will be used to release HEO’s inspection product for satellites, HEO Inspect, which is currently live being used by customers in a private beta.
HEO Robotics was cofounded and is led by two aerospace and robotics engineers. The CEO, William Crowe, has a PhD in astrodynamics and has won awards developing orbital strategies for camera networks. Hiranya Jayakody, HEO Robotics’ CTO, has a PhD in spacecraft control and has worked on complex computer vision projects.
William Crowe says “In-orbit inspection is an incredibly important part of keeping space sustainable. One of the easiest ways to reduce debris is to monitor existing spacecraft and
either troubleshoot known issues or help predict future failures. As a company that believes in space sustainability, we utilise cameras that are already in space, rather than adding to the congestion.”