Announcing the Raising of 500 Million Yen During a Series-A Investment Round
～ Largest investment procurement ever in Japan by a satellite data analysis company ～
Space Shift Co., Ltd. (headquarters: Chiyoda Ward, Tokyo; president: Mr. Naruo Kanemoto; hereinafter referred to as “Space Shift”), which develops satellite data analysis systems, has announced that it has raised 500 million yen in a series-A investment round via third-party allotment. Space Shift will also underwrite a total of three companies, including the Space Frontier Fund (operated by Sparks Innovation for Future Co., Ltd.), EEI No. 4 Innovation & Impact Investment Limited Partnership (operated by Environmental Energy Investment Co., Ltd.), and one other company.
This is Space Shift’s first large-scale round of financing. For the funds raised this time, Space Shift will significantly strengthen its development systems and will promote the development of AI specialized in synthetic aperture radar (SAR) satellite data analysis.
As a background, in June 2020, Sparks Innovation for Future Co., Ltd. began operating its Space Frontier Fund, which is a space-forward investment fund, and procured investment from Toyota Motor Corporation, MUFG Bank, Ltd., Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation, and Mizuho Bank, Ltd., etc. Meanwhile, Energy & Environment Investment, Inc. is the only venture capital firm in Japan that specializes in the fields of energy and the environment. This round of investment procurement was triggered by support for our vision of contributing to the realization of a resilient & sustainable society via SAR satellite data analysis technology.
In recent years, with the spread of AI, big data processing, and cloud technology, the utilization of EO data is progressing in various fields. Until now, the satellite data used for automatic analysis has mainly consisted of satellite images taken under well-lit conditions via optical satellites, but the new method developed by Space Shift enables AI to automatically analyze SAR satellite image data, which is difficult for even experts to read. Unlike optical satellites, SAR satellites can observe the surface of the Earth via the bouncing back of emitted microwaves, resulting in images with unique noise quality. In order to interpret this data, specialized knowledge is required. In addition, because SAR satellites do not require light to obtain image data, many advantages can be realized, such as being able to observe the Earth’s surface even at times of cloud cover and at night. Such a capability will be important for the expanded use of satellite data going forward into the future.
Space Shift will continue to concentrate its management resources on software development for the analysis of SAR satellite data so as to provide advanced satellite data analysis technology as required by SAR satellite operators and data users around the world. In tandem, by making it possible to detect environmental changes over the entire globe, Space Shift can help contribute to the optimization of societal conditions on Earth and to the realization of a sustainable society.
Comment from Mr. Naruo Kanemoto, CEO of Space Shift Co., Ltd.
“The technology that combines satellite data and AI for automatic change detection is about to take off as a major field of business worldwide. Against that backdrop, our company is developing the technology necessary for utilizing AI in the analysis of SAR satellite data, which will be used more and more in the future against the backdrop of an increase in the number of SAR satellites in use. We also aim to help realize a sustainable society by making it possible to detect minute changes that could not be detected until now due to limitations involving weather and time, thus further expanding the possibilities of satellite data usage.”
Comment from Mr. Shinichiro Kengaku (president & CEO of the SPARX Space Frontier Fund)
“We believe that the 2020s will be a decade in which the utilization of satellite data will help solve various social issues on Earth. I highly appreciate the foresight of Space Shift toward its aim of developing innovative software methods. We hope that these efforts will open up the very frontier of a new Japanese space industry.”
Comment from Mr. Kenyu Hosoya (member of the board, managing director at Energy & Environment Investment, Inc.)
“SAR satellite data analysis technology can be used in various situations, such as for grasping the extent of damage after a disaster and for the monitoring of infrastructure. It is also a technology that is indispensable for the realization of a sustainable society, and we look forward to and wholeheartedly support the future growth of Space Shift amid its tackling of the challenges in this domain.”
Company name: SPARX Innovation for Future Co., Ltd.
Head office location: Shinagawa Season Terrace 6F, 1-2-70 Konan, Minato Ward, Tokyo 108-0075 JAPAN
Main representative: Mr. Shinichiro Kengaku (president)
Fields of business: Investment operations in venture companies and projects that feature technologies that contribute to the realization of the utilization of space Website: https://sparxsif.com/
Company name: Energy & Environment Investment, Inc.
Head office location: 5-11-1 Higashigotanda, Shinagawa Ward, Tokyo, 141-0022 JAPAN
Main representative: Shuichiro Kawamura (president)
Fields of business: Japan’s only venture capital firm specializing in energy and the environment