Umbra, Inc., an almost five-and-a-half-year-old Santa Barbara-based intelligence and technology company, has raised $32 million in equity financing that was led by the family office venture fund of John Burbank, founder of hedge fund Passport Capital. Other participants are from Umbra’s existing investors, CrossCut Ventures, Starbridge Ventures, Hemisphere Ventures, PonValley, and others.
Umbra invented the only microsatellite that can see through clouds, at night, in high resolution (<25 cm GSD). Umbra has agreements to deliver data to the United States government and commercial geospatial intelligence (GEOINT) firms.
Umbra was founded with a contract from a prime aerospace and defense firm. Umbra used this capital to build hardware for its commercial mission without equity financing, and to remain American owned, controlled, and operated.
David Langan, Umbra’s CEO, said of the company’s favorable market position, “Umbra has been on the inside looking out, which gave us an advantage with the United States government and primes, ultimately allowing us to win important contracts critical to future space architectures.”
Umbra has built and developed multiple satellites since its formation. Umbra plans to continue manufacturing spacecraft and begin launching satellites for their commercial missions this year.
Umbra has a desire to reduce the cost of radar data while offering unrivaled product quality. “When we embarked on the commercial business it was clear – Umbra needed to invent something new to create value for our customers.” said Gabe Dominocielo, Umbra’s co-founder.
Recently, Umbra was granted a patent for its deployable antenna, which allows the company to launch multiple satellites on a SpaceX rideshare. Umbra’s antenna is supported by 1200 MHz bandwidth radar. The spacecraft has an ability to resolve objects smaller than 25 centimeters from space and can acquire targets at very long ranges, meaning Umbra only needs a single satellite, not dozens, to outperform existing or known planned satellite architecture.
Dominocielo, continued, “Our proprietary technology improves satellite performance, data quality and can collect many areas of interest in high resolution, which allows us to offer lower prices.”
Umbra expects to be the only provider of these types of radar products in the United States and will be selling this 25-centimeter imagery commercially with its issued NOAA license.
Umbra’s revenue, in conjunction with the new capital, will be used to support customer needs such as free tasking, pilot programs and direct satellite access. Umbra’s market hypothesis is designed to create a thriving commercial Earth observation industry through analytics partnerships to deliver valuable insights which were previously unachievable.
Umbra is expanding its team to approximately 45 people and has new job openings in engineering, product, software, operations, and marketing in both its Santa Barbara, California location as well as its new Austin, Texas facilities.