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Simera Sense zooms in €13.5M for its Earth observation optical imaging solutions

Simera Sense Team Photo
Simera Sense team. Image credits; Simera Sense.

Spacetech is booming, with established companies and startups alike aiming to capitalise on this rapidly developing industry. Previously seen as a cost-prohibitive area to focus on, recent innovations and success stories have spurred interest, initiating a more organised and industrialised environment in this sector. Specialised developers and suppliers, along with industry standardisations, are driving down the expense of commissioning satellites. This shift is opening doors for organisations that were previously deterred by financial constraints, making satellite technology an increasingly accessible solution.

Belgium-based Simera Sense, providing end-to-end optical solutions for the small satellite Earth observation industry, has raised €13.5 million in its first significant growth investment round. The funding, led by NewSpace Capital and Knife Capital, marks a crucial milestone for Simera Sense as it plans to further develop its product range, expand production capacity, and accelerate on-board processing capabilities, bringing transformative changes to the market.

Rapid growth and market demand

Simera Sense is a leading provider of end-to-end Earth observation camera solutions for the global small satellite market. The company offers a suite of high-resolution, ‘off-the-shelf’ cameras, designed for diverse missions and compliant with standardised satellite bus interfaces and data formats.

Founded in 2018, Simera Sense has experienced rapid growth, emerging as a key player in offering high-resolution cameras for the global small satellite Earth observation industry. With the Earth observation data and service market estimated to be worth $12.55 billion in 2024 and projected to reach $20.73 billion by 2029, Simera Sense is strategically positioned to meet the increasing demand for its high-resolution cameras.

Investment utilisation

The investment from NewSpace Capital and Knife Capital will be used to respond to growing client demand, expand production capacity, and establish additional production sites in Europe. Simera Sense plans to strengthen its production and customer support capacity, along with expanding its product development teams. The focus is on fast-tracking the development of higher-resolution and SWIR camera products.

Market-first on-board data processing

Simera Sense aims to revolutionise the market by introducing on-board data processing capabilities embedded in the camera control electronics. This innovation is expected to address current challenges where satellite camera data is typically processed on the ground, causing bandwidth issues and communication challenges. Simera Sense’s development in this area is considered a market first.

CEO Johann Du Toit’s perspective

Johann Du Toit, CEO at Simera Sense, expressed his excitement about the company’s journey, stating, “We’re very pleased with the amount raised and grateful to NewSpace Capital and Knife Capital for choosing to back us. We are looking forward to our journey together. We’ll be looking immediately to increase our production capacity so we can meet client demand and bring delivery time down further, while taking the development of our on-board data processing solutions to the next stage. Satellite imagery has a central role to play in helping us solve problems here on Earth, and the dynamism and growth of the Earth observation and wider space market reflect that. It’s a very exciting time for the company.”

Investor recognition and synergies

Bogdan Gogulan, Managing Partner at NewSpace Capital, praised Simera Sense’s strong track record and recognised its potential to transform the market, “We spent a long time looking at the market for a company with not just the ambition but the expertise to revolutionise Earth observation, and Simera Sense stood out from the crowd. We’ve been following the company for a number of years. The team has a very rare combination of technical excellence, business acumen, resilience and humility that attracts customers and partners. We believe this team will achieve a lot, including mastering on-board data processing, which would be transformational for the market. There are also interesting synergies with some other companies in our portfolio. We are delighted that Simera has chosen NewSpace Capital to lead this round. We appreciate the trust of our co-investors, Knife Capital. We look forward to working together to begin the next chapter in the development of the commercial space.”

Keet van Zyl, Co-Founder and Partner at Knife Capital, expressed delight in supporting Simera Sense, “‘We are delighted to back the unique combination of a deep technology product suite, a market demand for Simera Sense products and an entrepreneurial team that has a track record of proven execution capabilities in this space. It has already been a fulfilling journey even during due diligence and closing out the transaction with credible investment partners. Knife Capital is proud to be part of transforming the optical payload solutions industry.”

Global collaboration and clientele

Simera Sense, launched in South Africa and headquartered in Leuven, Belgium, collaborates with various European institutions and is engaged in partnerships with companies responding to ‘New Space’ prospects. The company’s clientele includes AAC Clyde Space, Open Cosmos, Nara Space, OHB Systems AG, among others.

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