Growing up outside of Washington D.C., I can remember taking trips to the Air and Space Museum to see the lunar lander and early satellites and being in complete awe of the potential and opportunity of space.
Now, in today’s age, those doors of opportunity have been opened wide. Space travel and technology are no longer restricted to a few core critical government organizations and commercial organizations stand to add vast amounts of innovation to this market.
Companies like Blue Origin and SpaceX are launching incredible rockets and satellite technology at a pace previously impossible from a small group of organizations. As a result, there have been more satellites launched in the past two years than the last two decades combined and we have seen the beginnings of a dramatic democratization of space technology.
At NightDragon we believe that the commercialization of space is the next big frontier in our economy that will shape how we connect and secure organizations and individuals in the future. That is a mission that fits squarely with the NightDragon commitment to advancing cybersecurity, safety, security and privacy.
There are many technologies in the electric optical market that can assist with achieving these security missions. For instance, imagery technologies like Google Earth give us pictures of our world from above and Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) gives us further visibility through clouds and objects. Both of these serve important purposes but have clear established market leaders.
That said, we believe there is still significant room for fresh innovation around other Earth Observation technologies, such as leveraging geolocation of radio signals for further data collection and analytics. This provides for added visibility into human behaviors and can be used to pinpoint nefarious or anomalous activity. We believe that this Radio Frequency (RF) market is going to be a key piece of the overall electric optical satellite market, especially when paired with data analytics.
Where most companies are prevented from realizing these benefits of space technology is cost. It is often prohibitively expensive — upwards of $1 billion or more — for a government organization to build and launch a satellite. By commercializing this technology, you can provide the benefits in a Software-as-a-Service model that democratizes this incredible technology for a broader set of government users.
That is why NightDragon is excited to announce we are leading a $55 million Series C funding round in HawkEye 360. I have spent countless hours with the HawkEye 360 team over the past two years leading up to this investment and am confident they embody our mission to protect people around the world through technology and tap into this incredibly fast-growing market.
HawkEye 360 is the first U.S.-based commercial company to use formation-flying satellites to create a new class of RF data collection and data analytics. This is critical as organizations and governments are increasingly expanding their digital ecosystems and seeking to leverage new forms of analytics to root out evil and correct it.
They have taken this clear first-mover advantage in the RF market and turned it into escalating success for national security, maritime, environmental and other use cases. This was accomplished through two satellite clusters already in orbit around the world, with five more clusters funded and on track for launches in 2021 and 2022. They will layer these collection capabilities with data and analytics to turn data into intelligence.
These capabilities are executed by a stellar team. John Serafini is a seasoned CEO with entrepreneurial and growth experience. He is joined by former Raytheon divisional CFO Dave Farnsworth and experienced engineering and satellite technology leader Rob Rainhart as COO. The team is backed by an advisory board of some of the most prestigious aerospace and government leaders.
We believe there is significant opportunity ahead where cyber meets space and look forward to partnering with HawkEye 360 to realize that mission for governments and organizations around the world.