July 26th, 2019—–A year and five months after its founding, Synspective reached $100 million in funding, making it Japan’s fastest-growing and best-funded space startup company. The news was picked up by major Japanese and international media outlets.
CEO Motoyuki Arai and Director Atsushi Shito talked about the reasons why Synspective was able to raise such a large amount in a short period of time:
1. The trend of the times
Motoyuki Arai：There are many factors, but I think one is that the trend of the times provided a tailwind. First of all, the Japanese government’s support for space development gave investors a sense of security. In addition to the fact that many companies were creating CVC funds due to the booming economy, there were not many promising investment targets in this area. The cost reduction of image analysis and SAR satellites due to technological advancement also provided us with a tailwind. With these favorable conditions, we were able to create a realistic business plan and put together an excellent team, so I think investors felt comfortable providing us with funds.
2. Potential of SAR satellite data market and robust technical capabilities such as “ImPACT”
Atsushi Shito：For investors, the space business has been perceived as an area where it is difficult to generate revenue as a business. However, our target market of SAR satellite data sales is already a robust market, and analysis using SAR satellite data is an attractive market with high potential for rapid growth in the future. Despite this, there are only a few competitors due to the high technical barriers to entry in the development and manufacturing of small SAR satellites, and the situation is not expected to change significantly in the future. Synspective was able to bring in key members of the ImPACT program led by The Cabinet Office, as well as top players in data analysis.
3. A team of talented people who share Synspective’s mission
Atsushi Shito：In order to achieve a business plan, it is crucial to have the “people” to carry it out. Synspective’s unique business of developing small SAR satellites and satellite data solutions is unprecedented and we have the people who can lead it to success. In addition, we have established a joint development system with many research institutes such as JAXA, Keio University, University of Tokyo, and Tokyo Institute of Technology, which has helped us gain the trust of investors. In addition, I believe that our CEO’s achievements and personality also contributed greatly to our success.
Time, market and technology, and an excellent team. Without even one of these factors, we might not have been able to raise $100 million in such a short period of time.
Atsushi Shito: Fundraising is just a means to achieve the mission of the company. On the other hand, the space business requires a large amount of funds compared to other businesses, and the reality is that the companies with financial and funding power will win out. I would like to build a system that allows us to continue to raise funds so that our members at Synspective can continue to have opportunities to play active roles in achieving the company’s mission.
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