ICEYE, a Finnish satellite imagery company, announced Wednesday that it negotiated $50 million in deals for its services in the United States last year while also recruiting some new executives, such as a former Tesla executive. Last year’s overall revenue increase, according to ICEYE co-founder as well as CEO Rafal Modrzewski, was “an unexpected outcome” considering the COVID-19 pandemic and reflected contract growth of nearly ten times what the business signed in 2019. Modrzewski stated, “It was certainly beyond standards, and we see this pattern continuing.”
The company’s business model is built on integrating synthetic aperture radar (or SAR) imagery into a suitcase-sized form factor, lowering the expense of launching several satellites to build a network that can photograph locations on Earth multiple times a day. ICEYE isn’t the only company pursuing the SAR imaging business. Capella Space, headquartered in San Francisco, recently launched its own SAR satellites into orbit in order to grab a portion of the $60 billion Earth intelligence industry. “The private sector had the highest increase in terms of percentage and also in terms of revenue,” Modrzewski added.
According to Modrzewski, the firm is already working to increase sales from “tens of millions of booked deals to hundreds of millions.” As a result, ICEYE has had to hire more executives to “be able to navigate the hyper-growth period,” he added, with the firm’s global headcount now at about 280. “Our strategy for 2021 is to upgrade the constellation and expand manufacturing capacity in order to retain the foundation since we have to meet consumer demand,” Modrzewski explained.
Modrzewski’s group, which was created in 2015, has raised over $150 million in venture capital and has sent ten satellites into orbit. ICEYE, on the other hand, expects to double the number this year, with three separate missions slated to send another ten satellites into space. The satellites will display ICEYE’s next wave of capabilities, with the first being technology demos, according to Modrzewski.
“We usually name such satellite demos because they’re the first ones, although we can’t promise maximum commercial capability from them, even if we’ll reach for 100 percent of the architecture. Then, most likely, the follow-up missions would be of that age, albeit on a commercial basis,” Modrzewski added. Although the next-generation ICEYE satellites have several enhancements, Modrzewski emphasized the inclusion of a “multi-spot mode,” which allows the satellite to pass over a position only once but deliver several photos at the same time.
ICEYE’s latest satellites will also record 100-kilometer swaths, provide “much higher resolution” than its existing 25-centimeter offering, and provide consumers quicker images. ICEYE’s satellites’ main parameter is the time it takes to produce a picture after obtaining a customer request.