Japanese microsatellite startup Axelspace secures $23M series B round

Image credit: Axelspace

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Japanese microsatellite startup Axelspace annoufnced on Friday that it has raised about 2.58 billion yen (about $23 million US) in a series B round. This round was led by “31 Ventures – Global Brain Growth I”, the joint venture fund by Mitsui Fudosan (TSE:8801) and Global Brain, with participation from INCJ (previously known as Innovation Network Corporation of Japan), UTokyo Innovation Platform (investing about $2.7 million US), SBI Investment, and Dai-ichi Life Insurance.

For Axelspace, this follows their series A round back in September of 2015. The latest round brings their total equity funding to-date to 4.5 billion yen (about $40 million US).

Axelspace was spun off from the University of Tokyo and incorporated as a company in 2008. The company has been developing small and inexpensive satellites weighing some 60 kilograms, and launched satellites outsourced from Japanese weather company Weathernews (TSE:4825). Leveraging these low-earth orbit (LEO) satellites, Axelspace plans to collect weather and terrain data to sell to governmental organizations and private businesses.

The first model of the GRUS satellite
Image credit: Axelspace

The company has postponed the launch of its GRUS first satellite which was initially planned back in 2017, but unveiled at this time it will be launched on December 27th by Soyuz from Vostochny Cosmodrome in Russia.

In 2015 the company announced AxelGlobe, the earth observation infrastructure which will provide imagery of more than half of the planet’s dry land once every single day. In pursuit of better turning that idea into reality, the company appointed their co-founder and managing director Naoki Miyashita as CTO, and also named their marketing manager and business development expert Yasunori Yamazaki as CBDO (chief business development officer) at this time.