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Planet Labs Debut | by jurvetson
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Planet Labs Debut

I have never seen a company go so far in stealth mode on a Series A... to space in this case. Twice.

 

Here are the Planet founders, Chris, Will and Robbie, with a bottle of my favorite J-Curve bubbly. They took this photo during a little signing ceremony of our Series A term sheet. (Full disclosure: I also led the seed round, before the company incorporated, and became the first outside board member)

 

The blue marble of Apollo 17 provides a wonderful backdrop for the company as they are taking a radically different approach to Earth imaging satellites to boost the frequency and universality of coverage to new levels. The data will be open for developers of cloud services from beyond the cloud!

 

They have a passion for humanitarian applications: instead of lamenting illegal fishing or deforestation in the Amazon months after the fact, imagine being able to catch them in the moment. When a natural disaster occurs somewhere on the planet, it often is in an area that was not an imaging hot spot and so it can be difficult to get timely before and after imagery surrounding the event. Imagine every farmer in the developing world having access to crop health and over-watering data, like the rich farmers do today. Existing imaging markets want better frequency and coverage, and if you push it far enough, entirely new markets will arise. The sky is not the limit. =)

 

Planet Labs announced their existence this morning with a website revealing imagery from their first two satellites. (SpaceReview, Dow Jones, MIT Tech Review, TechCrunch, SpaceNews, VentureBeat)

 

Stepping back a bit, we are seeing unprecedented innovation in the space industry, triggered by SpaceX lowering the cost of access, and now with companies like Planet Labs revolutionizing how a satellite company should operate in this new space market.

 

I first met them while launching rockets in the Black Rock Desert with my son, where these NASA scientists came to test fly a Google Android phone as a satellite….

 

Photo sequence of the early days below… and here are all of my Planet posts, in order.

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Taken on June 24, 2013