Chinese Commercial Satellite Start-Up Guoxing Aerospace Closes $14M Series A Round

Chinese commercial satellite developer Chengdu Guoxing Aerospace Technology announced on Wednesday that it has raised nearly RMB100 million (US$14.46 million) in a series A round of financing led by the country’s residential real estate developer Vanke.

The transaction, completed in January, took the valuation of the satellite start-up to almost RMB500 million (US$72.34 million). A group of investors including state-owned investment agency Chengdu Technology Transfer Group (CTG), and a Shenzhen-based investment firm, whose name can be translated into "Hexing Fund," also participated in the new round.

Guoxing Aerospace, founded in May 2018, has so far launched six satellites, including two artificial intelligence (AI)-powered satellites that are said to have the capabilities of autonomously identifying clouds and fog, and selecting useful images to send back to the earth. The company said it has broken even in the first quarter of 2019, and is estimated to become profitable in the second quarter.

The company currently focuses on the application of satellite image data in areas like transportation and smart city. It has formed strategic cooperation relationship with Dutch small satellite platform designer Innovative Solutions In Space (ISIS), Airbus Defence and Space, an Airbus unit responsible for defense and aerospace products and services, and Chinese state-owned media outlet Xinhua News Agency.

Proceeds will be used to develop AI technology, satellites, and data services, and expand the company’s market presence. Before the new round, Guoxing Aerospace also secured tens of millions of yuan in an angel round in September 2018.

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