Satellite-imagery specialist Capella raises nearly $100 million in network expansion

The deployed reflector of the Capella-3 satellite in orbit.

Capella Space

San Francisco-based satellite-imagery specialist Capella Space on Monday announced the close of nearly $100 million in financing, as the company looks to expand its line of analytics and data products.

Capella raised $97 million through a mix of equity and debt in a round led by NightDragon and joined by previous investors DCVC and Cota Capital. The company declined to specify its valuation following the financing round.

The venture’s business is based on combining a special type of imagery — known as synthetic aperture radar, or SAR — with a small, inexpensive spacecraft. The company is building a network of satellites that can capture images of places on Earth multiple times a day. The SAR technology allows Capella’s satellites to capture images at any time, even at night or through cloud cover.

A synthetic aperture radar image captured by a Capella satellite on the evening of March 25 shows the Ever Given ship surrounded by support boats in the Suez Canal.

Capella Space

Capella currently has seven satellites in orbit, with plans to launch more over the next two years. Company CEO Payam Banazadeh didn’t specify the target number for the satellites it aims to add, saying “it’s not about the number of satellites you want to put up.”

“It’s really about what the customers want — where they’re at with respect to the work that they’re doing with you — and how fast the market is growing,” Banazadeh said.

Its array of satellites allows Capella to take images of “anywhere in the globe” about every three to four hours, he noted.

Capella has “more than a dozen anchor customers,” Banazadeh added, and doubled its revenue over the last 12 months. The company declined to specify the annual revenue. It was founded in 2016 and currently has about 160 employees.