Germany’s OroraTech snaps €15M to predict wildfires by monitoring Earth’s temperature every 30 minutes

OroraTech

OroraTech, a space-based thermal-infrared data intelligence company from Munich that measures Earth’s temperature with its revolutionary camera solution, has extended its Series A round with €15M from private investors and public sector co-funding. 

The investment round was led by Edaphon, a Belgium-based climate impact fund, alongside existing investors Findus Venture, Ananda Impact Ventures, BayernKapital, ConActivity, APEX Ventures (invested in OroraTech before), SpaceTec Capital, and industry experts Ingo Baumann and Clemens Kaiser. Additionally, it was extended by non-dilutive co-funding from the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Free State of Bavaria.  

With the fresh funding, the German startup will expand its climate solutions portfolio by launching its second thermal-infrared camera in space in May 2023. The company claims this will be the first and only commercial provider of space-based thermal-infrared insights. 

Thomas Grübler, CEO of OroraTech, says: “I am very proud of what we have achieved within a year – launching our first camera in space. The new funding will allow us to launch our second camera and accelerate our expansion strategy to different use cases. Together with our new and existing investors and industry experts, we will fast-track OroraTech’s ambition to take the planet’s Earth temperature every 30 minutes and deliver thermal-infrared insights for transparency and better decision making.” 

The high temperature of our planet 

It has been the goal of climate policy worldwide since the Paris Agreement of 2015 to keep global temperatures from rising by more than 1.5 °C. COP27 in Egypt showed that it is not a goal the world will achieve. Our planet has a fever resulting in natural disasters and corresponding monetary losses. As per reports, every year wildfires emit 17-20 percent of the world’s total carbon emissions and cause an estimated $10Bn of insured damages. This severely impacts the possibility of achieving sustainable development goals (SDGs) related to biodiversity, water, health, land life, and climate. 

But critical space-based technologies are already reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Earth observation (EO) technology is making energy production more efficient. Information from ground sensors in combination with EO data is helping to improve air quality and forest health, and perform carbon credit verification for forest owners. 

A thermal-infrared camera to control wildfire

Founded in 2018, by Florian Mauracher, Rupert Amann, Thomas Grübler – founder with backgrounds of a mix of engineering and computer science, and a hint of volunteering firefighting, OroraTech’s can track wildfires from a nanosatellite, saving lives and forests, with an early warning. In early 2022 OroraTech launched the first thermal-infrared camera on a nanosatellite, kicking off its constellation of 100 cameras to continuously monitor the earth’s temperature and provide data-based trends.

It’s current offering in the market, Wildfire Intelligence Solution, uses existing third-party data for wildfire detection and monitoring and is used for detecting over 100,000 fires daily and protecting more than 160 million hectares of forest on six continents.

To launch 100 cameras in space

Unlike other space-based solutions, OroraTech’s thermal-infrared camera uses the medium-wave-infrared (MWIR) band allowing hot objects to be determined exceptionally well against low-temperature. Further, the camera does not require cooling, which saves significant costs and outperforms IoT sensors on the ground and drones in the air. The system is also equipped with AI-based onboard processing capabilities and inter-satellite communication to analyse the data in space and deliver insights in real time. With the launch of its 100 cameras in space, OroraTech will deliver recurring insights globally every 30 minutes.

Joost Van Laer, Edaphon investment manager, said in the press release: “We support companies that have the potential to create a positive impact on the environment at a large scale. We were impressed by OroraTech’s first commercial Wildfire Intelligence Solution and the team’s great qualities and complementarity, as well as their ambition to continue developing high-impact solutions over the coming years. “

Within the last year, the OroraTech team has grown significantly to 80 professionals. The team represents more than 20 nationalities with backgrounds in aerospace engineering, satellite data, and design, optics engineering, software development, business intelligence, sales, and marketing. Headquartered in Munich, Germany, in 2022, OroraTech expanded its footprint with experts in US, Canada and Luxembourg.

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