OroraTech has extended its Series A round with €15 million from private investors and public sector co-funding. With this fresh funding, OroraTech will expand the firm’s climate solutions portfolio by launching their second, thermal-infrared camera into space in May of 2023 to strengthen the company’s position as the first and only commercial provider of space-based, thermal-infrared insights.
The investment round was led by Edaphon, a Belgium-based climate impact fund, alongside existing investors Findus Venture, Ananda Impact Ventures, Wachstumsfonds Bayern 2, ConActivity, APEX Ventures, SpaceTec Capital, as well as industry experts Ingo Baumann and Clemens Kaiser. Additionally, it was extended by non-dilutive, co-funding from the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Free State of Bavaria.
Since the Paris agreement of 2015, the goal of keeping the rise in global temperatures within 1.5° C has shaped climate policy worldwide. COP27 in Egypt revealed that it is not a goal the world will achieve. The Earth has a fever, resulting in natural disasters and corresponding monetary losses. For example, each year, wildfires emit 17–20 percent of the world’s total carbon emissions and cause an estimated $10Bn of insured damages. This severely impacts the possibility of achieving sustainable development goals (SDGs) related to biodiversity, water, health, land life, and climate.
Critical, space-based technologies are already reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Earth observation (EO) technology is making energy production more efficient. Information from ground sensors in combination with EO data is helping to improve air quality and forest health, and perform carbon credit verification for forest owners.
Driven by the vision of “thermal intelligence for a sustainable Earth,” in early 2022, OroraTech launched the first, uncooled, thermal-infrared camera in space. This major achievement was a stepping stone toward a satellite constellation for a 12-hour revisit by 2024 and a 30-minute revisit by 2026 to provide actionable insights to clients worldwide.
The company’s current offering in the market, Wildfire Intelligence Solution, is leveraging existing third-party data for wildfire detection and monitoring and is used by clients worldwide, detecting more than 100,000 fires daily and protecting more than 160 million hectares of forest on six continents.
As a result of the growing market demand for thermal-infrared data insights, OroraTech is already partnering with data analytics companies, industry solution providers and institutions. For example, urban heat island monitoring and mapping for better heat wave prediction and cooling degree day estimation, and industry activity monitoring for plume detection and gas flare volume estimation.
Unlike other space-based solutions, OroraTech’s thermal-infrared camera shows the unseen world by providing data in two optical bands: long-wave-infrared (LWIR) and medium-wave-infrared (MWIR). LWIR is used as a commercial thermal-infrared camera; it captures the ambient temperature of an object (about -30 to +80°C). However, different extreme events, like fire, are scorching hot. OroraTech also uses the MWIR band, allowing hot objects to be determined exceptionally well against low temperatures.
Due to its proprietary design, the camera does not require cooling, which saves significant costs and outperforms IoT sensors on the ground and drones in the air. The system is also equipped with AI-based onboard processing capabilities and inter-satellite communication to analyze the data in space and deliver insights in real time.
Within the last year, the OroraTech team has grown significantly to 80 professionals. The team represents more than 20 nationalities with backgrounds in aerospace engineering, satellite data, and design, optics engineering, software development, business intelligence, sales, and marketing. Headquartered in Munich, Germany, in 2022, OroraTech expanded its footprint with experts in the US, Canada, and Luxembourg.
“I am very proud of what we have achieved within a year – launching our first camera in space that has outperformed our own expectations and has no equivalent in the world, ” said Thomas Grübler, CEO of OroraTech. “The new funding will allow us to launch our second camera and accelerate our expansion strategy for different use cases. OroraTech’s fast growth is also appreciated by the investor community – I am thrilled to welcome our new investor Edaphon on board. Together with our existing investors and industry experts, we will fast-track OroraTech’s ambition to take the planet’s Earth temperature every 30 minutes and deliver thermal-infrared insights for transparency and better decision-making.”
“We support companies that have the potential to create a positive impact on the environment at a large scale,” says Joost Van Laer, Investment Manager at Edaphon. “We were impressed by OroraTech’s first commercial Wildfire Intelligence Solution and the team’s great qualities and complementarity, as well as their ambition to continue developing high-impact solutions over the coming years.”