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Wednesday, April 15, 2015

IFC invests $20m on Planet Labs’ doves for earth imagery




   


 
International Finance Corporation (IFC) has invested $20 million (N3,971,000,000) in Planet Labs, a San Francisco-based company that deploys small, low-orbiting satellites to photograph remote and emerging parts of the world to help with disaster response, agriculture and urban planning, ITRealms reports.

IFC is a member of the World Bank Group with interest in Venture Capital thus providing equity financing to early and growth-stage companies across technology-focused sectors including consumer internet, resource efficiency, and healthcare and education technologies.

Planet Labs’ fleet of nano satellites, called “doves,” could be deployed in clusters to capture earth imagery faster and less expensively than traditional satellites, whose data-rich images are often inaccessible to communities and businesses in developing countries.

Nikunj Jinsi, Global Head of Venture Capital at IFC, informed ITRealms,“Satellite imagery is an important tool for economic development and disaster risk response, and Planet Labs’ data sets can help bridge the information gap many emerging markets now face. IFC’s investment will help ensure more companies and communities in developing countries have the information they need to grow in a smart and sustainable way.”

Up-to-date satellite imagery can inform strategic decisions about how to manage forests, water resources, coastal zones and farmlands, including choices about crop use. Planet Labs’ earth snapshots can also track pollution and enable fast, targeted responses to both man-made and natural disasters.

ITRealms learnt that IFC’s equity stake is part of a $118 million, about N23,428,900,000 fundraising effort for Planet Labs, which has also secured funds from Data Collective VC, DFJ, Capricorn Investment Group and others. Just as the proceeds will be used to finance manufacturing and deployment of satellites, ground stations and technical equipment, and to support business growth and sales.

Cyriacus Nnaji /GEE


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