Fleet Space more than doubles valuation with $50m Series C

Fleet Space more than doubles valuation with $50m Series C

The Fleet Space Technologies Team, with CEO Flavia Tata Nardini and chief exploration officer Matt Pearson centre.

Adelaide-based space tech firm Fleet Space Technologies has closed a ‘heavily oversubscribed’ Series C funding round to raise $50 million, led by existing investor and Australian venture capital firm Blackbird.

The Series C, which was also supported by Mike Cannon-Brookes’ venture capital vehicle Grok Ventures, Alumni Ventures and Hostplus, more than doubles the company’s valuation, now surpassing $350 million.

According to Fleet Space, co-founded by CEO Flavia Tata Nardini and chief exploration officer Matt Pearson, the size of the latest raise was secured because the company exceeded growth milestones set out in its oversubscribed Series B round in 2021.

The company’s continued growth since it was started in 2015 also attracted the likes of new investors TelstraSuper, Bondi Partners and Pavilion Capital to the latest raise.

Fleet Space says the latest round follows the success of its satellite-based mineral exploration technology ExoSphere, which is currently in operation with more than 30 clients globally including Rio Tinto (ASX: RIO), Barrick Gold Corporation, Core Lithium (ASX: CXO) and Gold Fields.

“Since the launch of Exosphere, our groundbreaking product, we have achieved an impressive milestone of reaching $28 million in contracted revenues within a year, deploying customers in every continent of the world,” Tata Nardini said.

“This exceptional growth in revenue, coupled with our robust customer acquisition, has been a driving force behind our successful Series C round.”

The CEO added that Fleet Space would play a crucial role in the coming years for space-enabled exploration services as demand heightens for minerals required for the energy transition.

“The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) has pointed out that the world will need hundreds of new mines to meet the critical minerals demand required for the energy transition,” she said.

“We are believers that space-enabled data in exploration will allow the search for critical minerals to speed up so much that we will be able to reach humanity’s targets for net zero.

“With this capital we aim to map the subsurface of Earth and find the deposits that are needed with a much lower environmental impact.”

Fleet Space chief financial officer Federico Tata Nardini said the Series C highlighted the company’s resilience in the face of a challenging financial environment.

“When we completed our Series B funding round in 2021, the market was already contracted due to the global pandemic,” the CFO said.

“Since then, the investment climate has become even more challenging, so to secure funding on this scale now is a huge achievement for us, and a fantastic vote of confidence from our new and existing investors.”

The raise comes after Fleet Space penned a $6.4 million contract with Australia’s Defence Space Command (DSC), marking the company’s foray into the defence industry.

This project will see Fleet Space deploy its next-gen Centauri satellites to create a Low Earth Orbit (LEO) communications system focused on tactical communications and data transmission where connectivity is limited.

This latest raise is more targeted towards the growth of its ExoSphere mineral exploration tech. The constellation of these satellites is capable of 3D subsurface imaging, which Fleet Space believes will transform exploratory drilling, refining and accelerating the targeting process while also reducing its environmental impact.

Fleet Space noted that its roadmap for Exospehere includes predictive drill targeting models, lithology models and other multiphysics models, giving exploration teams greater certainty.

The company added that it was also iterating its Geode ground sensors to make them smaller, lighter and capable of acquiring multiple data types simultaneously to further enhance the insights ExoSphere can deliver.

Further, the development of new technology enabled by machine learning and AI is on the cards post-raise, as are new strategic product lines on a global scale through an expanded constellation of satellites.

“ExoSphere is transforming critical mineral and mining projects worldwide, and we’re proud to be leading the way in this important field. Our worldwide growth is a testament to our team’s hard work, talent and dedication,” CEO Tata Nardini said.

“With this new funding, we are in an ideal position to propel further innovation and drive growth within the mineral exploration industry, not only in Australia but across the globe.

“Looking ahead, our vision extends beyond Earth as we aim to leverage these cutting-edge techniques to scan the Moon and Mars, enabling responsible exploration and unlocking extraterrestrial resources that were once out of reach.”

South Australian Premier Peter Malinauskas congratulated the home-grown company on its successful raise.

“Fleet Space Technologies is a genuine Australian success story, and a key player in our nation’s burgeoning space sector. I’ve followed the company’s fortunes closely over the years and know just how much time, effort, talent and dedication has gone into this success, which has now been richly and deservedly rewarded with this new funding round,” Premier Malinauskas said.

“It's truly remarkable to witness Fleet's exponential expansion, and their achievement of growing a team of 100 highly skilled staff is a testament to their vision and ability to attract top talent.

“I look forward to seeing Flavia, Matt and their team, and their investors, take Fleet Space Technologies to the next level and help secure Australia’s place in the global space industry.”

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