“The funding will be used to hire more engineers on both the space and ground teams, as well as to continue the development of the first satellite with our partner suppliers,” Topher Haddad, Albedo co-founder and CEO told SpaceNews.
In its April 22 funding announcement, Albedo also revealed a slate of angel investors: retired U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. Tom Sheridan, former Space and Missile Systems Center commander; Keith Masback, former CEO of the U.S. Geospatial Intelligence Foundation; Lookout co-founder Kevin Mahaffey; Daniel Kan, Cruise co-founder and chief product officer; Immad Akhund, Mercury co-founder and CEO; James Park, Fitbit cofounder and former CEO; and Harsh Patel, former Galvanize CEO.
One of the firm’s goals was to attract investors with space-related expertise and investors with experience running companies in adjacent industries who could advise Albedo on merging its software-as-a-service approach with the task of building and operating a constellation of satellites, Haddad said.
Albedo plans to operate a fleet of refrigerator-size satellites to gather electro-optical imagery with 10-centimeter resolution and thermal imagery with two-meter resolution.
The Denver-based company sees applications for its imagery and data products in industries like agriculture, insurance and energy.
“The list of important use cases for high-quality satellite imagery is practically endless — from agriculture to utilities to mapping, energy, climate, emissions tracking, disaster relief, urban planning and many more,” Brett Gibson, Initialized Capital general partner, said in a statement. “Companies and entities we rely on need better and more accurate imagery to gain critical insights. Albedo’s team of experts is using emerging space technologies and creating modern architecture to capture and deliver superior imagery faster.”
Albedo also sees great value in “the synergy between our visible and thermal imagery for climate applications, which range from emissions monitoring and forestry carbon capture to natural disaster relief,” Haddad said in an April 22 blog.
For example, Haddad said Albedo products can support organizations like Climate Trace, a nonprofit that publishes data on emissions around the world.
Climate Trace “currently uses visible imagery of the emission plumes to estimate carbon content,” Haddad said in the blog. “However, this is sensitive to wind conditions and uncertain assumptions.”
“Using that heat signature, combined with knowledge of surface properties and fuel type, the Climate Trace team can calculate accurate carbon emissions day or night,” he added.
Albedo was founded in 2020 by Haddad, a former Lockheed Martin senior systems engineer, Winston Tri, a former Facebook software engineer, and AJ Lasater, a former Lockheed Martin systems architecture manager. The trio began focusing on the startup full time when they joined the Y Combinator accelerator.