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Space data and analytics startup Slingshot Aerospace has expanded its Series A round by adding $25 million in new funding to help grow its team and continue work on its flagship product, a collision avoidance system for space vehicles called Slingshot Beacon.
El Segundo-based Slingshot described the funding as a Series A-1 round that adds to its initial $9.6 million Series A raised in October 2020. The new round was oversubscribed, it said.
“As we started raising that [initial] Series A, we decided to change our strategy and raise a smaller inside-only round with our existing investors, knowing full well that we would do another [Series A-1] round,” Slingshot co-founder and CEO Melanie Stricklan told dot.LA.
The Series A-1 was co-led by venture capitalist Tim Draper’s Draper Associates and ATX Venture Partners. New investors Edison Partners, Lockheed Martin Ventures, Valor Equity Partners and Embedded Ventures also joined the round, as did existing investors like Okapi Venture Capital and Revolution’s Rise of the Rest Fund. The funding takes Slingshot Aerospace’s total raised to $42 million since its 2017 launch.
The company hopes its flagship Slingshot Beacon system can be used worldwide to help commercial, civil and government users better communicate to avoid space collisions between satellites and other assets. Stricklan, a former U.S. Air Force officer, said the platform is similar to projects launched by the Space Force’s 18th Space Control Squadron, which uses data from the U.S. Space Surveillance Network to track objects in Earth’s orbit.
But with an estimated 115,000 satellites planned to be launched into space by 2030, Stricklan said the Space Force—which Slingshot Aerospace counts as a client—will be unable to keep track of them all, and that’s where Slingshot Beacon comes in.
“We applaud the 18th Space Control Squadron, but this is not their primary mission and their systems are not scalable to the sheer exponential growth of hardware in orbit right now,” Stricklan said. “We've got to give our commercial owner-operators, civil owner-operators and defense owner-operators around the world the ability to harness this information and communicate across borders.”
The 65-person startup plans to use the funding to hire an additional 40 employees across its engineering, sales and marketing departments over the next year.
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