Urban Sky, a stratospheric technology and remote sensing startup, announced today an over-subscribed $4.1 million Seed financing round co-led by Catapult Ventures and Union Labs, with participation from TenOneTen Ventures, New Stack Ventures, and Techstars.
Urban Sky has been working quietly the last two years to develop and test its patented stratospheric Microballoon™, the first ever small, precisely placeable, fully reusable, and rapidly deployable remote sensing balloon. This vehicle leverages advancements in component miniaturization, first-of-its-kind balloon reusability, and the ultra-high vantage point of the stratosphere to deliver broad area, highresolution remote sensing data at costs significantly less than all other aerial platforms. Urban Sky plans to commercialize the vehicle for multiple applications, including wildfire monitoring, disaster response, insurance claims processing and, more broadly, to capture high-resolution (<10cm GSD) remote sensing data at unprecedented refresh rates above urban centers and environmental areas of interest.
Stratospheric balloons have historically not been used for remote sensing applications due to their inability to fly over desired areas at specific times. Urban Sky’s Microballoon™ enables reliable, highresolution remote sensing due to its small form factor and ability to launch from mobile locations in just minutes with minimal personnel. This mobile launch system coupled with advanced flight modeling software and safe, controlled descent enables precise placement of these systems over desired areas.
Additionally, Urban Sky’s durable, fully reusable stratospheric balloon envelopes (an industry first) allow for launch in much higher winds than traditional, large stratospheric balloons, offering more operational flexibility for routine, reliable remote sensing missions. The Microballoon™ also emits ~27 times less CO2 than remote sensing aircraft, making it one of the greenest ways to image Earth in high-resolution.
“Every enduring deep-tech company exhibits a common set of foundational characteristics: hungry and passionate founders, multiple layers of defensible technology, and deep insights about the market and how to navigate it,” said Rouz Jazayeri and Darren Liccardo, Co-Founders of Catapult Ventures. “Andrew, Jared, and the Urban Sky team have all of these traits. With this new round of funding, Urban Sky will have the opportunity to bring low cost, high refresh rate imaging into a rapidly growing number of industries, and ultimately unlock a new set of applications and insights.”