Leaf Space, the Italian ground segment as-a-service company focused on microsatellites and incubated in I3P, announced it has completed its Series A financing round of €5 million, with contributions from Primo Space and Whysol Investments, bringing its total funding to €10 million.
Leaf Space will use the funding to further develop its ground segment services for microsatellite operators in the New Space Economy and globally scale up its business. During the first trimester of 2021, the company plans to grow its operational ground stations from 8 to 11 by deploying and activating stations in Sri Lanka, Canada and Australia.
"This is a fantastic achievement for Leaf Space", commented Jonata Puglia, CEO and co-founder of Leaf Space. "In a short space of time, Leaf Space has become an industry name and a key player in the New Space Economy. It has shown to be capable of providing excellent ground segment services to satellite operators, from launch and early orbit phase (LEOP) all the way to decommissioning, but also in supporting launch vehicle operators. Having concluded this successful investment round shows the relative resilience of the sector, despite the ongoing pandemic, and allows the company to continue with its strong and swift development plan”.
Other developments in 2021 will include implementing services to further improve and simplify the operational use for customers and covering almost all of the protocols and communications schemes currently in use in the microsatellite market. This in turn will increase Leaf Space’s performance and capabilities to support future more complex mission. "We believe that the ground segment is one of the most interesting sectors in the space economy", said Giorgio Minola, General Partner at Primo Space, "and Leaf Space has already demonstrated its abilities to successfully operate in this arena".
"In addition to completing the Series A funding, we increase our commitment and participation by entering Leaf Space’s board of the company", explained Alberto Bitetto, founder and Chairman of Whysol Investments. "Our aim is to support the co-founders and management in accelerating the roll-out of the new infrastructure, the service evolution and the development of the client base, focusing on successfully competing in the international space race.”
The ground segment services of Leaf Space currently support customers such as Astrocast, Pixxel, Virgin Orbit and D-Orbit, together with other important institutional customers such as the European Space Agency (ESA), Telespazio-Leonardo and the Indian Space Agency (ISRO). Leaf Space’s ongoing network expansion aims to minimise latency of satellite data reception, managing to provide telemetry, tracking, and control (TT&C). It also plans to provide downlink services to satellites in sun synchronous and equatorial orbit (SSO) at least once per orbit.
"It's a great satisfaction to see Leaf Space, a startup that operates in the aerospace industry with the intention of becoming a reference point for the sector, grow this much. The funding round just closed shows that the direction taken by Leaf Space is the right one," said Giuseppe Scellato, President of I3P. "As an incubator, we are proud to have accompanied the team in these years, offering strategic advice, networking and support in fundraising: the success of this project can have an important, positive impact also for the whole Italian aerospace sector".