Leaf Space, an Italian company that provides ground segment services for smallsats, has recently closed a Series A investment round to finance the scale-up phase of its business model.
The company, founded in 2014 in Milan by Jonata Puglia, Michele Messina and Giovanni Pandolfi, has a well-established presence in Europe, North America, and APAC and with this round has raised another €3 million that will allow it to consolidate and expand its services dedicated to microsatellite operators.
The objective of this investment is to strengthen Leaf Space’s presence in the New Space Economy by supporting both the expansion of its current satellite antenna infrastructure as well as the development of new services and technologies. This activity will favor and further strengthen the existing and solid commercial base, which is embedded in a sector that is focused on the satellite communications of the future and is therefore also of more strategic importance for facing the impacts of COVID-19 on the global economic system.
This new €3 million round was carried out by an investment group in which Whysol Investments is the Lead Investor, followed by RedSeed Ventures. The latter has already been present in Leaf Space since its first steps, having invested a total of €1.4 million of capital between 2016 and 2019.
Today, Leaf Space has globally-distributed satellite communications infrastructure, with 5 antennas installed and operational. The Leaf Line communication service has been used by over 14 customers. Companies such as Astrocast, Pixxel, Virgin Orbit, D-Orbit, and many others around the world use Leaf Space’s services to expand and consolidate their business, together with major institutional clients including the European Space Agency (ESA), Telespazio-Leonardo, the German Space Agency (DLR), and the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).
With this investment, the company has raised a total of more than 7 million Euros and is moving away from the world of start-ups to take a more mature path as an Innovative SME. Considering the positive results of its commercial service in Europe and the US three years after its market entry, Leaf Space will use the funding to further expand its already active ground station network, with new sites in North America, the Azores, the equatorial zone, and the southern hemisphere.
In particular, the expansion of the network will reduce communication latency in Europe, the US, and Australia, being able to provide data uplink and downlink service once per orbit in SSO (Sun-Synchronous Orbit) and equatorial orbit. By the end of 2020, the network will have a total of more than 10 ground stations dedicated to the multi-customer service Leaf Line, in addition to several stations dedicated to the Swiss customer Astrocast, using the exclusive Leaf Key service.
The new capital raised will also finance technological development activities, to expand towards higher communication frequencies, and to increase the supported data-rate, allowing Leaf Space to serve other satellite classes, launch providers, and High Altitude Platforms (HAPs).
“The New Space market has been growing for years, a real boom linked to the birth and development of microsatellites. So far, the sector is proving more resilient than others to the impact of the COVID-19 crisis, and Leaf Space is a clear example. The closing of this round is an extraordinary achievement for which I want to thank our investors, all our partners, and employees for the commitment and professionalism shown in recent months,” said Jonata Puglia, CEO and co-founder of Leaf Space.
“Innovation is the connective thread that has always guided us in our investment selection. During the start-up phase, Leaf Space has proven to be able to rapidly develop and provide a range of innovative services and technologies in the ground service segment, starting with the transmission and collection of data. We have decided to continue to support them also during the scale-up phase because we firmly believe in the multidisciplinary skills of the management team and in the potential of the New Space Economy,” added Alberto Bitetto, Founder and Chairman of Whysol Investments.
“This is a further demonstration of how Made in Italy is competitive at the global level even in very technological sectors like the New Space Economy. Leaf Space is now a global-level company of reference in the microsatellite ground segment sector, able to compete with giants that have operated on the market for decades,” said Elisa Schembari, Founder and Managing Partner of RedSeed Ventures and Leaf Space Chairman.